Proposed Trade Sends Bears’ Sack Leader to AFC Contender

Robert Quinn

Getty Robert Quinn #94 of the Chicago Bears celebrates with teammates after a sack in the fourth quarter of the game against the New York Giants at Soldier Field on January 02, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago Bears edge rusher Robert Quinn is coming off one of the best seasons of his 11-year career.

Quinn finished second in the NFL in sacks last season with 18.5, and his four forced fumbles tied for fifth. He made the Pro Bowl for the first time since 2014, and the 755 snaps he played were the most he’s had since 2014, as well. Quinn also had 25 hurries, four QB hits and 47 total pressures in his 16 games last year, according to Pro Football Focus.

Quinn, who turns 32 in May, rebounded nicely in 2021 after a disappointing debut season with the Bears a year prior. The veteran pass rusher finished with just 2.0 sacks playing 55% of Chicago’s defensive snaps in 2020, but he upped his value tremendously with his standout performance last season, particularly with former Bears pass rusher Khalil Mack out with injury much of the time.

The idea of Quinn getting traded has been floated before, particularly after new Bears general manager Ryan Poles traded Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers in March, but now, one analyst has put together a trade proposal he thinks the Bears should pursue before the draft begins on April 28.

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Quinn to K.C. for a 3rd-Round Pick?

In his April 10 column, Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report urged the Bears to “try to execute” a trade involving Quinn and the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Moving Quinn now would only save $4.4 million in 2022 but would clear at least $17 million off the cap in 2023 and 2024,” Wharton noted. “With a lack of pass-rushers available in free agency and the developmental curve for rookies being steep, the Chiefs make more sense than any other team for the veteran. After adding five draft picks in their trade of Tyreek Hill, they can afford to address the gaping need on their defense for a mere third-rounder.”

Wharton has the Bears getting pick No. 94 from Kansas City this year (that’s late in Round 3) in exchange for Quinn in the hypothetical trade proposal. Considering Quinn’s stats last year, that feels a bit low. Throw in an additional fourth- or fifth-rounder, and it’s certainly worth considering.

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Is Poles Willing to Trade Quinn?

Quinn’s $17.14 million cap hit is currently the highest on Chicago’s roster in 2022, per Spotrac, and considering Poles has prioritized eliminating several of the team’s other hefty contracts, including those of former nose tackle Eddie Goldman and veteran linebacker Danny Trevathan, it’s entirely possible he would consider moving Quinn, as well.

When Poles was asked at the NFL owners meetings on March 28 whether or not he would consider trading Quinn, the Bears GM didn’t suggest it was on the table — but he didn’t outright say no to a possible trade, either.

“That hasn’t come up,” Poles said, via Adam Jahns of The Athletic.

A trade may not have come up yet — Quinn’s $17 million salary is a decent-sized road block for many teams — but Poles has shown he’s interested in making his roster younger while also increasing his team’s cap space. We’ll see what happens, but Quinn’s name may be worth watching in the coming months.

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