It didn’t take long for the Miami Dolphins to extend Bradley Chubb, the former Denver Broncos pass rusher they brought in via trade earlier in the week.
Chubb hasn’t even taken a snap with his new team, but has already secured the bag:
A deal with a full value of $119 million makes Chubb the fifth-highest-paid edge rusher in the NFL. Only Khalil Mack (we’re familiar with his contract), Joey Bosa, Myles Garrett, and Von Miller have higher total values on their respective deals. In terms of fully guaranteed money, the $63 million coming Chubb’s way is the third highest in the league behind T.J. Watt ($80M) and Joey Bosa ($78M). No matter how you slice it, Chubb got paid. And handsomely, to boot.
Whenever I see a player sign a market-altering deal, I tend to try and see it through Bears-colored lenses. Mostly in terms of what the Bears are doing (or will do in the future). And considering their pass-rushing concerns, seeing Chubb’s deal is an eye-opener.
Chicago’s 13 sacks this season rank 28th in the 32-team NFL. Last time I checked, ranking fifth worst isn’t good. And when you see where they rank in terms of pressures, you’ll understand further why this is an area of concern:
It’s not that Chicago’s pass rushers aren’t getting sacks. Bears defenders aren’t even getting pressure. That is problematic. And while we can point to needs at a variety of positions on the field, this front office better not ignore their need to upgrade the playmakers responsible for pressuring the quarterback.
It is probably too early to dive deep into how the Bears can properly address these concerns, but it’s gotta be on our radar. It’s very important. And it’s not too early to suggest that the upcoming NFL Draft might provide the best path to outside help.
Will Anderson (Alabama EDGE), Jalen Carter (Georgia DT), Myles Murphy (Clemson EDGE), Bryan Bresee (Clemson DT), and Tyree Wilson (Texas Tech EDGE) all pop up as top-12 prospects on Dane Brugler’s latest pre-draft rankings at The Athletic. And even though I can easily make cases for drafting one of the receivers or offensive linemen at the top of the class, it doesn’t take much to drum up interest in any of these potential game-changers in the trenches. Plus, seeing these astronomical prices for stud pass rushers serves as a reminder of why the Bears need to scout, draft, and develop well at the position.
The play this offseason might be to snag stud pass-rushers on rookie scale deals while you can, then watch them shine, and ultimately let them prove they are worthy of a second contract. Otherwise, exploring the free agent market (which could be barren) or trade routes (which could be costly in terms of picks) are the best alternatives. In any case, we should be cognizant of what is coming down the pipeline in the future.