We’ve been missing you and your wonderful rumors.
• ICYMI: The Bears traded Khalil Mack. We’ve got fallout from the decision here. And there are good reads sprinkled throughout the web. Sheil Kapadia (The Athletic) grades the trade, and does so in a way that you’ll be OK bringing this report card home to mom and dad. Alyssa Barbieri (BearsWire) dives into some additional cap ramifications. Chris Emma (670 The Score) sees the trade as the start of a rebuild. Meanwhile, Robert Zeglinski (Windy City Gridiron) marks this as the official start of the Ryan Poles era.
• I’m digging the picture Cam Ellis (670) paints, as it depicts Poles as the kind of general manager this Bears team needs. Ruthless is a word that comes to mind. You have to be if you’re going to make your first move to be a trade of your team’s best defensive player. And to not get a first-round pick while doing so. That takes some real cojones to pull the trigger on that one. Poles will get dragged for it in some circles, but it’ll be worth it if he can successfully rebuild from the ashes of the old regime.
• The best of the Ryan Pace era was built on hope, which isn’t the best tactic. Dealer’s choice of shooter’s shoot moments. You can pick the roll of the dice on Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 NFL Draft. Or circle the leap of faith that came with the acquisition of Khalil Mack. The Nick Foles trade was a Hail Mary heave to fix the QB room. And even the Justin Fields trade-up was a last gasp prayer. Until the very end, there was this hope that something would stick after throwing muck at a wall. It was entertaining from 2018-20, but that wasn’t a sustainable way to build a team. If it was, either (1) Pace would still be around or (2) Poles would’ve found an angle to make it work. Instead, we got the reality check that this team isn’t as good is Pace was selling.
• Some might see the Mack move as signaling a rebuild. But I see it as a rebuild specifically on defense. In other words, the Bears are less likely to burn it all down to the ground just because they dealt Mack. Instead, look at this as an opportunity to re-allocate funds to the offense. This isn’t to say the Bears are going to use the money from Mack’s departure to bring in his offensive equivalent. But what I am getting at is that the Bears are now better positioned to build a better offense by shifting funds away from the defense. After hiring a defensive-leaning head coach, the idea here could be to lean on Matt Eberflus and his staff to seek out unearthed gems on defense while focusing more on acquiring playmakers on offense. Hey, it could work!
• I understand this trade isn’t 100 percent popular. But if you’re on the fence about it, this is a unique way to look at the deal:
People comparing Mack being traded to Von Miller and thinking Denver got more
Pick 64 (270)
Pick 96 (116)
Pick 48 (420 pts)
According to the rich hill trade value chart the #Bears got MORE than the Broncos
— Brandon Robinson (@BRobNFL) March 11, 2022
• BEARS WON THE MACK TRADE! (AGAIN)
• Brad Biggs of the Tribune peering at what could be on the horizon has my attention:
Khalil Mack is gone as Ryan Poles and the #Bears go head first into a rebuilding phase.
The question is what's next – or who's next in the Halas Hall (extreme) makeover?https://t.co/unuTcaiTOj
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 11, 2022
• Robert Quinn’s trade value has never been higher, but it might not be enough to get what Mack brought in as a return. It might be best to wait it out and see if a Von Miller type of deal presents itself during training camp, the preseason, or at the trade deadline. Shopping Eddie Goldman in a trade and netting anything in return would be a win. But clearing cap space with a cut is the most realistic path. Eddie Jackson is polarizing and hasn’t returned to his 2018-19 form, but maybe a scheme switch will help rebuild his stock. Again … everything points to rebuilding the “D” with this team.
• Still looking ahead, I’d be curious to see how this shakes out:
#Bears will pursue Marquez Valdes-Scantling in Free Agency. Looking to add multiple WRs plus a Left Tackle prior the draft day.
— Chad Forbes (@NFLDraftBites) March 10, 2022
• There has been way too much MVS smoke to ignore. Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s appeal as a deep ball threat, combined with Justin Fields’ deep-shot throwing proficiency could make for a Dany deal. But that the Bears could be eyeing multiple receiver signings is the real nugget in the Chad Forbes tweet above. Bringing in Valdes-Scantling alone doesn’t move the needle. But signing him as part of a wave of moves could be a thing. And if the Bears add a left tackle, too? Sheesh. Depending on how this all unfolds, a high volume of moves could serve to soften the blow of losing Mack.
• It is always nice to see Fields putting in offseason work:
• Let Justin cook:
Justin Fields: 5th highest passing grade on 1st down in 2021 regular season (81.7)
min. 100 first down dropbacks pic.twitter.com/hFGkUd987H
— PFF CHI Bears (@PFF_Bears) March 10, 2022
• EL OH EL:
In 2022, Justin Herbert and Khalil Mack — combined — will cost about $3 million less against the cap than Carson Wentz.
— Robert Mays (@robertmays) March 11, 2022
• Some tough love from the Bulls:
What was said on the Bulls bench Wednesday night?
"Things I can't repeat," DeRozan told reporters.
Whatever it was led to a win, and the Bulls can only hope it leads to several more.https://t.co/jprgZOFogy
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) March 11, 2022
• Of course he is:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) March 11, 2022