Working Through Some Hypothetical Summertime Trades for the Chicago Bears
We’re a little more than a month away from the Chicago Bears reporting to training camp. And while most of the dust has settled from an offseason of unprecedented change around the league, more movement could be coming this summer. After all, that never-ending roster churn stops for nobody.
With that in mind, this Bleacher Report piece offers up trade scenarios for each of the NFL’s 32 teams. Some of them include the Bears. Others include plausible Bears targets. Let’s discuss…
A Robert Quinn Trade
B/R’s Ian Wharton proposes a sizable splash trade that would send Pro Bowl pass-rusher Robert Quinn from the Bears to the Cardinals. This deal makes sense on so many levels. Firstly, have you seen the quarterbacks the Cards have to face in their division? Matthew Stafford and Trey Lance figure to be formidable foes. Meanwhile, the rest of their schedule has matchups against Patrick Mahomes, Derek Carr, Justin Herbert, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady. Heck, games against Jalen Hurts, Mac Jones, Kirk Cousins, and Jameis Winston might give that defense fits. In other words, yeah, the Cardinals should be in the market to trade for Quinn.
And on the other side of the equation, there is a case to be made for Chicago wanting to get out from what’s left of Quinn’s contract while also snagging some draft capital. Arizona tacking on WR Andy Isabella, a second-round pick in 2019 (and a draft darling among prospect hipsters), would be a nice touch, too. Anything to add an affordable, warm body who makes sense as a change of scenery candidate to a receivers room that needs as much help as it can get its hands on.
HOWEVA, I have some hangups.
Firstly, I’m not sure if a summertime trade is best for the Bears’ rebuilding plans. If the team was insistent on trading Quinn, it probably should’ve been more prudent in seeking a trade partner before (and even during) the 2022 NFL Draft. In theory, Chicago’s front office could’ve leveraged a situation where teams looking for pass-rush help seeing prospects go off the board in their favor. Secondly, it is fair to wonder if waiting it out and shopping Quinn later in the summer (before the regular season kicks off) or just ahead of the trade deadline is a more fitting path. Should the Bears exercise some patience, they could use the deadline to coax a team thirsty to add to its pass-rush into sending more draft capital their way.
But that’s only if the Bears are truly in the market to push Quinn out the door.
A Different Wide Receiver Trade?
While Andy Isabella represents a potential post-hype sleeper addition to the mix, the hypothetical Bears-Cards trade isn’t the only one in which Chicago could land that type of pass-catcher. That’s because B-R suggests a Bears-Giants Kenny Golladay trade. A bit out of left field? Sure. But this one intrigues me.
Wharton suggests the Bears send a 2023 sixth-round pick in exchange for Golladay. On the one hand, this would feel like a steal. Golladay threw together a clunker in his first year with the Giants, catching just 37 passes and collecting only 521 receiving yards in 14 games. He was held out of the end zone altogether in 2021, but is just two seasons removed from having a league-leading 11 touchdown receptions in 2019. Bringing on Golladay would be more of a reclamation project than anything, but the Chicago native and Northern Illinois product was on the team’s radar when he was a free agent during the spring of 2021. Maybe there are still some holdovers in the front office who believe that getting him out of New York would put him back on track.
But absorbing that contract … sheesh. Golladay’s deal was a four-year pact worth $72 million and included $40 million in guarantees, per OverTheCap.com. A trade would clear $17.75 million in cap space for New York, which is something a team with just $6.222 million in room under the cap would probably want to do. The Bears, who are $23.765 million under the cap, could accommodate a Golladay trade. And if things didn’t work out if this hypothetical came to fruition, then the Bears could nudge Golladay out the door with a post-June 1 cut that would create $13.5 million in cap space at the cost of $7.9 million dead money hit. Not that I want the Bears to be digging into dead money pile. But that is an option (if push comes to shove).
Of course, Golladay isn’t the only pass-catcher who could be swapping hands. The B/R post lists Laviska Shenault, Marvin Jones, Tyler Johnson, Dyami Brown, and tight end Jonnu Smith among the players who could be summertime trade bait. There are plenty of change of scenery candidates to choose from, which could benefit the Bears if they’re prying open some trade doors.
In the End…
This feels like an opportune time to strike for GM Ryan Poles. But Poles shouldn’t be making trades for the sake of a shakeup. That would be a misstep.
But in recent years, we’ve seen other teams open their arms to players perceived to be non-fits for the Bears. Two years ago, Miami sent a conditional draft pick to Chicago for tight end Adam Shaheen, then gave him an extension before his first year with the Dolphins came to a conclusion. Houston gave the Bears a pick so they could bring receiver Anthony Miller into Texans camp last summer. So we’ve seen what it looks like on the other side of the equation. Maybe the time is right to be on the side rolling the dice on a change of scenery candidate.