Bears’ Defensive Leader ‘Away From Team,’ Igniting Trade Rumors

Robert Quinn

Getty Bears' edge Robert Quinn isn't planning to attend mandatory minicamp, according to reports.

Chicago Bears pass rusher Robert Quinn is not expected to attend the team’s mandatory three-day veteran minicamp, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport.

Quinn led the team in sacks last season with 18.5, which was second in the NFL behind T.J. Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers, so his absence is a big one.

As one of Chicago’s best players, Quinn is one of the team’s potentially attractive trade candidates. Considering he has yet to attend any of the Bears organized team activities this offseason, his absence at mandatory minicamp, which begins on June 14, kicked trade rumors into high gear.

Rapoport reported in April that other teams had expressed interest in trading for Quinn, but noted the Bears weren’t actively shopping him. Could that change?

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Bears Could Save Big Money if They Trade Quinn

Quinn signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Bears in 2020, which remains one of the team’s heftier contracts. As PFF’s salary cap expert Brad Spielberger noted via Twitter, the Bears could save nearly $12.9 million in cap space this coming season if they trade Quinn to an interested team.

Quinn’s contract is Chicago’s most expensive, per Over the Cap, just ahead of safety Eddie Jackson, who is set to make $11 million in 2022, $1.8 million less than Quinn.

The Bears currently have the third most salary cap space in the NFL, with just under $24 million, per Over the Cap. Dealing Quinn would leave them with over $36 million in cap room, which would allow them to extend promising young linebacker Roquan Smith or trade for a higher-caliber wide receiver or offensive lineman.

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Quinn’s Value Is at Its Peak

After finishing with 20 tackles (none for loss), six quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and 2.0 sacks in 15 games in 2020 (stats via Pro Football Reference), Quinn became a dominant force in 2021. In 16 games last season, the 32-year-old defender amassed 49 total tackles (17 for loss), 22 QB hits, four forced fumbles and 18.5 sacks.

He remained healthy all season, playing on 77% of the teams defensive snaps. With Quinn in good health and coming off one of the best seasons of his career, now is the time for general manager Ryan Poles to pull the trigger and trade the veteran pass rusher.

What could the Bears get in return for Quinn? Spielberger thinks that considering the heft of Quinn’s contract, a third- or fourth-round pick plus a late round selection would be a “slam dunk” for Poles:

Windy City Gridiron’s Jacob Infante agrees:

In an appearance on 670 The Score’s Mully & Haugh Show on May 6, the Bears’ GM noted the team planned on keeping Quinn around, but ultimately remained noncommittal.

“In terms of moves and all that, this league is crazy,” Poles said. “I can’t rule anything out and give absolutes, but I want him on the team. We’ll see how everything happens as we move forward.”

With Quinn now absent from mandatory team practices, his future in Chicago is more uncertain than ever.

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