As talk of the Chicago Bears potentially trading for quarterback Russell Wilson has heated up, so have the rumors and trade scenarios — and one key member of the Bears defense keeps getting mentioned as a possible trade chip. Multiple analysts have suggested the Bears ship All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack off to Seattle in exchange for Wilson.
The folks at CBS Sports suggested involving Mack in a potential trade, and a few others, including Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and Seahawks beat writer Rob Staton, have also laid out why sending the 30-year-old outside linebacker to Seattle in exchange for Wilson may be an appealing option for both teams.
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Seahawks Would Likely Want Top Talent in Addition to Draft Picks in Wilson Trade
While several first-round draft picks would certainly be part of any trade for Wilson, Staton, who writes for the Seahawks Draft Blog, broke down why including Mack in a trade package for Wilson would be attractive to Seattle and head coach Pete Carroll:
The key to any deal, however, is what veterans you acquire on top of any picks. Because quite rightly, people point out that Pete Carroll won’t want to go through a major rebuild as he nears 70-years-old. Any move has to come with a top-level player (or players) going to Seattle so they can try and construct a competitive (albeit different) roster for this year. The clear and obvious target would be Khalil Mack. He graded as the NFL’s #1 edge rusher in 2020 according to PFF with an elite grade of 92.5. He has been a consistently brilliant force. Adding him to Seattle’s defense could elevate the entire unit — allowing them to rush more effectively with four defensive linemen. The Seahawks would have him under contract for the next four years with a salary of $17m in 2021, $12m in 2022 and $17m in 2023/24. That would be a bargain for one of the best pass rushers in the league.
Whether Carroll and company would be willing to part ways with Wilson remains a huge topic of debate. Staton also explained why Wilson’s $39 million cap hit for the Seahawks may not be as big of a hurdle for both parties as some think, and he also suggested that if the two sides don’t work out a solution that makes the quarterback happy, trading him is absolutely on the table.
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Mike Florio Also Thinks Mack Could Be Option in Trade Package
If Wilson finds happiness and contentedness in Seattle over the next few months, the Bears can forget about a trade. But if not, the door remains wide open, and the more time that passes, the more interesting things could get.
“Given that the Seahawks likely need to wait until after June 1 for a Wilson trade in order to convert a $39 million cap charge into $13 million this year and $26 million next year, the Bears would benefit from that,” Pro Football Talk’s Florio noted, before breaking down why time could be a factor for both teams here:
“A post-June 1 trade of Mack would limit the 2021 cap charge to $9.4 million,” he continued. “The Bears also would have to absorb Wilson’s base salary of $19 million. That obligation would mostly be balanced, however, by avoiding Mack’s $17 million salary. The Bears would still have to do some heavy lifting to make it work from a cap standpoint, looking for veterans whose contracts could be dramatically restructured or flat-out jettisoned.”
Chicago has already parted ways with veterans Buster Skrine and Bobby Massie, and more cuts — along with a few restructures and/or extensions — are still coming. The Bears including Mack in a trade package for Wilson remains a long shot, but it does make for great drama. And who knows? Bears GM Ryan Pace has been known to take a few huge, bold swings in his tenure, including the trade that brought Mack to Chicago in the first place. Desperate times call for desperate measures, as they say, and few teams are more desperate than the Chicago Bears.