Proposed Trade Sends Bears Top Pass Rusher to Saints

Robert Quinn trade rumors Saints

Getty The Bears defense, led by Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn, currently leads the NFL in sacks with 18.

Robert Quinn is finally having the season the Chicago Bears hoped he would when they signed him to a five-year, $70 million contract with $30 million guaranteed last year. Quinn had a disappointing first season with the Bears in 2020, finishing with 20 total tackles, 2.0 sacks and six quarterback hits.

He has already surpassed much of his statistical output from last season so far this year, though, netting 15 tackles, 4.5 sacks, nine hurries, 15 pressures and six QB hits, the latter of which is tops on the team. Quinn’s resurgence has some thinking he’ll be one of the top contenders for Comeback Player of the Year — but one analyst thinks Quinn’s reinvigorated play makes him the perfect trade chip for the Bears right now.

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Analyst Thinks Bears Could Get 2nd Rounder for Quinn

In his October 16 column for Bleacher Report, Chris Roling offered up Quinn as an ideal trade piece for the Bears to use before the trade deadline on November 2. He’s under contract with Chicago through the 2024 season, and his hefty future paychecks are a big reason Roling thinks Chicago should shop him now — and he has the perfect landing spot in mind: with the New Orleans Saints.

Here’s Roling’s logic for Quinn-to-New-Orleans:

Now might be a good time for the Bears to sell high on defensive end Robert Quinn. … While he’s great, the combination of age and a contract that costs at least $16 million in each season through 2024 (provided the Bears don’t use a built-in out this offseason) makes him an under-the-radar trade candidate. Rest assured a would-be contender like the 3-2 New Orleans Saints would love to add Quinn to the mix. The defense has just eight sacks, with three of those from non-linemen. Marcus Davenport has just one and has struggled without Trey Hendrickson, a pass-rusher who left in free agency after recording 13.5 sacks last year. Quinn wouldn’t come cheap, but that’s part of the allure for the Bears. Netting a draft pick in the second-round range to better build around Justin Fields for the long term makes it a viable option.

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Would This Be a Good Trade for the Bears?

While Quinn’s play this season has been a pleasant surprise after last year, his contract has never been attractive. The veteran outside linebacker turns 32 next spring, and you never know when the injury bug will bite. If Chicago could get a 2022 or 2023 second-round draft pick in exchange for him, they could, as Roling suggests, add another building block around their QB of the future in Justin Fields.

The Bears just restructured Quinn’s contract this week, converting $4.39 million of his base salary into a signing bonus. He’ll now cost $20 million next season, but that won’t affect any possible trade scenarios. Quinn currently has a 75.2 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, up significantly from the 59.7 mark he earned last year.

His resurgence this year has been fun to see, and he has also opened things up more for Khalil Mack, who has five sacks, but if the Bears could free up the money tied to his contract while also acquiring a second-rounder to add an o-lineman to protect Fields or some help for Jaylon Johnson in the secondary, they would be negligent not to consider it.

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