Bears May Trade ‘Hot Commodity’ on Offense Heading Into Deadline

Matt Eberflus

Getty Head coach Matt Eberflus and his staff might be getting some trade inquiries soon.

The Chicago Bears signed veteran offensive lineman Riley Reiff on July 26, the day before their training camp officially began.

At the time of his signing, Reiff was in contention to be a starter in one of the tackle spots, but with the emergence of fifth-round rookie Braxton Jones on the left side and and second-year OL Larry Borom on the right, Reiff has been relegated to a backup role. He’s currently listed on the Bears’ depth chart as the second-string right tackle and the third-string left tackle.

With multiple teams already suffering injuries on their respective offensive lines just three weeks into the season, Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus thinks Reiff is “a potential hot commodity” and a likely “trade candidate for a tackle-needy team.”

Reiff’s Contract Is Heavy on Incentives

Reiff signed a one-year deal that could be worth up to $12.5 million in incentives. Per Over the Cap, the 33-year-old O-Lineman is due $3 million in guaranteed money and will receive an additional $4.5 million if he is on the field for 10% of the team’s offensive snaps. There’s also an additional $2.5 million tied to playing time and a $2 million playoff bonus, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.

So far through three games, Reiff has played a total of nine snaps (eight on special teams, one on offense). If this keeps up, and he remains firmly planted on the bench, Spielberger thinks several needy teams may come calling.

“A handful of teams are dealing with major losses at tackle already in Week 3, most notably the San Francisco 49ers with phenom Trent Williams and the Los Angeles Chargers with rising star Rashawn Slater,” Spielberger wrote on September 28.

“Reiff signed an incentive-laden contract with the Bears that doesn’t pay much unless he actually plays, and he is now firmly cemented as the swing tackle behind rookie left tackle Braxton Jones and second-round right tackle Larry Borom. Teven Jenkins is currently rotating at right guard but could serve as tackle depth at either spot, and Chicago also traded for former Las Vegas Raiders first-round pick Alex Leatherwood,” Spielberger added.

Spielberger Thinks Bears Could Snag 5th Rounder in a Trade for Reiff

Last year, Reiff started 12 games for the Cincinnati Bengals. In 420 pass block snaps at right tackle, he allowed 4.0 sacks, three QB hits and 21 pressures, per PFF. The 11-year vet has been durable since entering the league with the Detroit Lions in 2012, playing in at least 13 games every season leading up to 2021.

“He’s a reliable, above-average starting tackle in the NFL — a very valuable commodity, especially with the injury issues all over the league,” Spielberger noted.

Spielberger proposed a trade in which the Bears would send Reiff along with a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Chargers in exchange for a 2024 fifth-rounder.

If the Bears could get a future fifth-round pick for a backup OL, they should jump on it. Bears general manager Ryan Poles had a good amount of success in Round 5 of the 2022 draft, selecting two difference-makers in Jones and promising defensive end Dominique Robinson.

The trade deadline is November 1, so if Spielberger is correct and Reiff becomes a hot commodity, look for teams to start calling the Bears with inquiries soon.

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