The Khalil Mack trade was a landscape shifter that set the Bears on their current course. If he could be traded, anyone could. So far, no such deals have followed, but Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay believes the other bookend in the 2022 Bears’ pass-rushing tandem should be on the move soon.
Well, at least before the start of the 2022 season.
Kay opines that the Bears trading Robert Quinn is one of a handful of trades that should happen before this year kicks off. That isn’t a wild take. He even gives the Bears a trade partner in the Los Angeles Rams. The defending Super Bowl champs make for a sensible trade option, should the Bears choose to go that route. And for good measure, Kay throws in a projected return of a 2023 second-round draft pick. We all know new Bears GM Ryan Poles loves acquiring draft picks.
If any of that seems familiar, it is because the Rams paid a similar price to acquire Von Miller in an in-season deal ahead of the NFL’s trade deadline. History repeating itself could be a coup for a Bears team positioning itself for a more competitive 2023 at the expense of the 2022 season. And I guess it would be a good get for a Rams team that has Super Bowl aspirations (again) and has no qualms about dealing away its draft capital.
But are we sure it needs to happen *BEFORE* the season begins?
The Bears could very well be better off holding on to Quinn up until the last moments leading up to the 2022 NFL Trade Deadline. And for various reasons. Firstly, holding on to Quinn could help Chicago create a trade market that results in a bidding war. The Rams are an obvious fit for a trade now, but I predict they won’t be the only team searching for pass-rushing help when the ball gets rolling on the 2022. It might not be wise to trade a player before exploring all potentially interested parties.
Moreover, it might not be the best move to deal Quinn before his performance can further lift his trade value. I don’t think a slow start would ding Quinn’s value much. The track record is what it is at this point. And it’s good. Sometimes, as was the case last year, it was very good. But Quinn picking up in 2022 where he left off at the end of last season could get a needy team to up the ante on a potential trade offer. K
One factor we shouldn’t forget in any Quinn conversation is his value to this Bears team in 2022. The expectations are set low for this team right now. But it doesn’t mean Quinn isn’t an important piece of the puzzle.
A quality player and popular teammate, Quinn is a leader in that locker room. And as a veteran on a team with young players at his position, Quinn can provide a valuable voice. Think about the Bears’ current roster construction, and specifically at defensive end. They have a still developing pass-rusher in Trevis Gipson, who will likely take Quinn’s reps upon his departure. The team also has rookie fifth-round draft pick Dominique Robinson, who who is a converted wide receiver. Quinn’s presence could be helpful in aiding those players on their paths. It might not be for a long time, but getting to learn the tricks of the trade from Quinn during the summer could have long-term perks for young players.
In the end, part of me feels as if a Quinn trade is inevitable. The Bears have made it clear that they are re-positioning this team to focus on building out a long-term future. With that in mind, I’m not sure a soon-to-be 32-year-old pass-rusher is part of those plans. But keep in mind that the goal shouldn’t be to trade Quinn for the first offer. Instead, the idea should be to maximize the return on a trade. Assuming the Bears want to deal him in the first place. Because last we checked, that wasn’t on Poles’ to-do list. Perhaps that will change in due time.