The Chicago Bears did the unthinkable and landed a veteran superstar pass rusher in Khalil Mack. Without trust in Mitchell Trubisky, none of this would have happened
The latest CBA that ended a brief lockout in 2011 created a bit of a cheat code for NFL teams. The CBA implemented a rookie salary scale, as veteran players were disappointed to see low ball contracts while rookie draft picks see substantial guarantees. Teams were on the veterans side because when these volatile players became busts; they were stuck with the tab.
So, to help veterans make more, and teams spend less on unproven assets, the rookie salary scale was created to assign a cap hit by year based on draft slot.
The issue with this scale is that not every position on a football field is weighted equally. Some positions, like quarterback, make more than other positions, like running back.
Mitchell Trubisky having a cap hit of ~$6.6 Million is chump change when considering Kirk Cousins is on the Vikings cap for $24 million, and even Sam Bradford is on the Cardinals cap for $20 million. On the other end of the spectrum, Saquon Barkley enters the NFL with one of the five highest salaries amongst players at his position. The teams with the rookie quarterbacks have an insane advantage.
This gives them a chance to allocate resources elsewhere. The Bears have $15-20 million more than the Vikings and Cardinals to build around Trubisky thanks to spending so little at the quarterback position.
We have seen this turn into success in recent years. Think about the Philadelphia Eagles last season. In year two of Carson Wentz, the rebuild was on. Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and LeGarrette Blount were added on offense. On defense, Patrick Robinson and Timmy Jernigan were added to Chris Long and Derek Barnett to complete an insane group up front.
While everyone will point to the Philadelphia Eagles as the philosophers of this idea to stack the deck with a rookie quarterback, the Seattle Seahawks are likely the shining example of this.
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After making the second round of the playoffs in the rookie year of Russell Wilson, the Seahawks knew that the iron was too hot not to strike.
The Seahawks added Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett amongst others to complete what already was an overwhelmingly talented team. These additions helped seal the teams first Super Bowl the following season.
Notice that in both scenarios, the two pieces that put the thing over the top was the pass rush. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennet. Chris Long and Derek Barnett. These were players who completed the group. They gave the team an elite defense and an elite pass rush. These moves helped win the Super Bowl.
While it is just one player, one Khalil Mack is about the same type of upgrade these other previous Super Bowl winners saw on the edge. He is that kind of impact player and cost them that kind of impact price.
However, as evidenced by these previous winners, this type of move is worth it. Look at the Seattle Seahawks now. Russell Wilson is getting paid, and the pieces around him are all gone. Bennett went to Philadelphia. Richard Sherman to San Fransisco. Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor retired while Earl Thomas holds out in hopes of a trade.
Windows come and go fast. However, quarterback rookie contract windows are the most wide open window in all of sports. It is a small window, but one that can lead to immense success when handled with the proper urgency. It appears as though the Chicago Bears are pressing all of the right buttons to bring a Super Bowl home n that window soon.