The Chicago Bears have become one of the most interesting teams to watch ahead of the 2022 NFL trade deadline with nobody quite certain whether they will become buyers or sellers on the market. They have needs — lots of them — on offense, but they also have a few valuable players who could net them some future draft picks, including veteran pass rusher and 2021 sacks leader Robert Quinn.
Quinn has been discussed as an ideal trade chip for the Bears since long before their rough start to the 2022 season and that chatter has only picked up more with the deadline just a few weeks away. Most recently, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post wrote that multiple league executives have confirmed to him that the Bears have been shopping Quinn around with one general manager saying they “want to move him” but would have to “eat some of that contract to do it.”
La Canfora’s story also dropped a line toward the end about how Quinn “has wanted out since the Bears began purging their defense in the offseason.” The Bears record-holder, however, insists he is happy with his current fit in Chicago and would prefer to still be right where he is once the deadline passes at 4 p.m. ET on November 1.
“People like stories,” Quinn said, via Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I’m not walking into this building thinking about being somewhere else. I don’t want to walk in being a fake, acting like I want to be here but really I don’t. I’m here and I’m as happy as I can be.”
Quinn Retains Trade Value, But It’s Dropping
While Quinn isn’t the only Bears player who could possibly be on the move at the trade deadline, he would be the most sensible veteran to get off of their books. At 32 years old, Quinn is not likely to be involved in the long-term plans of Bears general manager Ryan Poles and his new staff, especially with cap hits of more than $17 million in each of the final two years of his contract that runs through 2024. He also possesses some residual value after setting a new Bears franchise record with 18.5 sacks in 2021.
The trouble is, that value continues to drop the more Quinn plays in 2022.
Through the first six games of 2022, Quinn has been middling at best as a pass rusher. He has produced 13 pressures and 11 quarterback hurries on a team-high 148 pass-rushing snaps, but he has turned just one of those pressures into an actual sack. According to Pro Football Focus, Quinn also has a lower “pass rushing productivity” than three of the Bears’ other edge rushers, including Al-Quadin Muhammad and rookie Dominique Robinson.
If the Bears truly don’t see Quinn in the future plans, they need to strike before the iron completely cools and trade him for the best offer they can get. Otherwise, they run the risk of his average play persisting for the entire season and his value sinking to an untradeable level for 2023, which would leave them in a keep-or-cut situation.
Montgomery Could Also Generate Trade Interest
Another Bears player who could generate some interest before the trade deadline is running back David Montgomery, who has been splitting his reps in the backfield with Khalil Herbert for the first six games of the 2022 season. The 2019 third-round pick remains one of the better offensive weapons in the Bears’ arsenal, but he is due to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason and will likely not receive a new contract from the Bears with Khalil Herbert and Trestan Ebner on rookie deals.
At a certain point, the long-term planning has to take priority over the short-term competitiveness. The Bears’ offense would get worse if they moved Montgomery, but they could guarantee themselves an immediate draft pick instead of playing the compensatory formula with him in free agency. They could also then give the leftover reps to Ebner to test out whether he can be a running mate for Herbert in 2023.
Maybe the Bears still believe they can compete in 2022 and are more interested in adding receivers or offensive linemen who can help them win now, but the window for it to mean anything is closing fast with them staring down the possibility of a 2-5 start heading into Monday night’s game against the New England Patriots in Week 7.