At present, the Chicago Bears need offensive line help like plants need water, and they have until Tuesday afternoon at 4 PM Eastern to get it. The Bears are rarely — if ever — active prior to the trade deadline, but their needs, particularly on offense, are currently glaring, and if they’re serious about wanting to contend this season, they have to fix the bleeding on their offensive line. But will they try to do it mid-season?
General manager Ryan Pace said this weekend that he was open to all avenues, trade-wise. “We look at every avenue to improve our team,” Pace told WBBM Newsradio 780 Sunday. “We talk about every single one of them. We owe it to ourselves to do that. It’s a unique year. There are some factors that go into that. But no matter what if something makes sense and it’s a fit for us for different reasons, we’re definitely going to explore it.”
Pace is right. Due to COVID-19 alone, there will be potential adjustments to schedules, and the number of teams allowed in the playoffs has gone up (the NFL is considering allowing 16-teams in this year). The Bears have what is widely considered to be one of the best defenses in the league, and at 5-3 halfway into the season, they have to be in win-now mode, don’t they? Considering the potentially available starting offensive linemen out there, the opportunity for Pace and company to make the team better is there — but will they take it? And should they?
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Multiple Analysts Want Bears to Trade for Patriots Left Guard Joe Thuney
Thuney has started every game for New England since the Pats drafted him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Sports Illustrated’s Gene Chamberlain is one analyst who sees Chicago as a good fit for the durable blocker:
“The need for someone with experience to come in on the line seems greater than ever,” Chamberlain wrote, before suggesting some potentially good fits for the Bears’ o-line: “The Falcons’ two interior offensive linemen, center Alex Mack and guard James Carpenter are among potentials. Among the bigger names rumored on the trade market are New England’s Joe Thuney and Washington’s Brandon Scherff.”
The primary issues for the Bears would be salary and what they’d be asked to give up in the trade. Thuney is midway through his one-year $14,781,000 contract with the Patriots, and the Bears have around $10 million in salary cap space to play with. Cam Ellis of NBC Sports, another analyst suggesting the Bears would be a good fit for Thuney, thinks that while the team making a trade like this is a complete long shot, cap space won’t be the determining factor in Pace’s decision.
Nor should it be.
Should Bears Go After Joe Thuney?
The primary issue for the Bears here is giving up draft capital, which Chicago cannot afford to do. If the Patriots would be happy with a fourth or fifth rounder for Thuney’s services, the Bears should jump. Durable and proven o-linemen like Thuney are hard to find.
But Pace and the Bears cannot afford to lose any future assets in next year’s draft, particularly in the first four rounds. There’s also Ryan Pace’s not-so-flattering trade history with Bill Belichick and the Patriots to think about.
Considering how shoddy the rest of the offensive line is, and how many holes they have on offense alone, though, the likely outcome is that Pace will hold onto his draft capital and wait for the draft, sitting this one out. Again.