NFL Trade Rumors: Could Bears Deal Tarik Cohen to Giants for Young TE?

Bears Tarik Cohen Trade rumors

Getty Running back Tarik Cohen of the Chicago Bears.

The latest trade rumors surrounding the Chicago Bears are swirling around one player in particular: All-Pro running back and punt returner Tarik Cohen. NFL analyst Albert Breer got the rumor mill grinding in his weekly Sports Illustrated column.

“Keep an eye on the Bears looking to augment their roster with a trade over the next couple months,” Breer wrote. “Their cap situation will make it tough to be too active on the free agent market, but if there are players late in their rookie contracts made available, that’s one place where GM Ryan Pace could creatively improve what remains a win-now roster.”

Presuming the Bears don’t pull a 180 and trade Mitchell Trubisky (they won’t), the team has two players with potential trade value still in their rookie deals: Tarik Cohen and Leonard Floyd. Tight end Adam Shaheen, while still on his rookie deal, has been a bust, and has virtually no trade value. That leaves Cohen and Floyd, who have very different contracts. Cohen is due just over $2.1 million in 2020, while Floyd is slated to make $13.2 million.

The Bernstein & McKnight Show, a Chicago sports radio program on 670 The Score hosted by Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight, discussed recent player-for-player trades and whether any talented, low cost Bears’ players would be trade options — and Cohen’s name was the first name mentioned.

Who Could the Bears Get in a Player-for-Player Trade for Tarik Cohen?

Bernstein and McKnight discussed the fascinating case of Cohen, who will be entering his fourth season in 2020. While his primary position is listed as running back, Cohen’s All-Pro and Pro Bowl nods in 2018 were for his performance as a punt returner.

He had a very disappointing 2019 season, rushing for 213 yards and averaging 3.3 yards a carry — both career lows — while also failing to score a rushing touchdown for the first time in his career. This came after a breakout 2018 season, in which Cohen had 1,169 total yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns in addition to his punt return duties.

“I don’t know how much is play-calling, how much is blocking — he was not fun to watch last year,” Bernstein said about Cohen. The hosts went on to suggest a few player-for-player trade options the Bears may be able to get with Cohen on the block, as he still has some potential trade value and upside. He was an All-Pro in his second year, and he hasn’t suffered any significant injuries in his three seasons. One name tossed around by Bernstein and McKnight as a possible player the Bears could get in exchange for Cohen? New York Giants tight end Evan Engram.

Would Evan Engram for Tarik Cohen Trade Be Good for Bears?

In a recent article for Sports Illustrated, Gene Chamberlain wrote that Cohen would be perfect piece for the Bears to move via trade if they wanted to bolster their roster, because of his upside, along with the notion that what he does for the team could be replaced by a different running back and/or “a more conventional receiver.” Bernstein and McKnight seem to agree, and when considering some of the current needs on this Bears team, they both tossed the idea of trading Cohen for Engram.

“There are some concerns there,” about Engram after he suffered an injury to a ligament in his foot that required surgery to end his 2019 campaign. Engram also sprained his MCL in 2018, and he has suffered two concussions in his three years.

Engram had a breakout rookie season in 2017, when he caught 64 passes for 722 yards and six touchdowns, but injuries have curtailed his performance since.

While acquiring a young tight end is definitely something the Bears should and very likely will do, Engram is not the best option, particularly when measuring his injury history versus Cohen’s virtually nonexistent one. He also carries a slightly higher cap hit than Cohen at $3.5 million. The Bears would be better served drafting a young tight end with less injury risk and keeping Cohen one more season to see if he can get back to his 2018 form.

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