Chicago Bears: Finding a market for Danny Trevathan

Chicago Bears (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Danny Trevathan is set to be a free agent. What kind of deal could he be looking for?

The Chicago Bears have a big decision to make when it comes to Danny Trevathan. Trevathan has been a longstanding starter, but an injury that sidelined him for seven games may have signaled a time to move on.

Trevathan will be 30 years old this upcoming season, and the team did not see a significant drop off from him to Nick Kwiatkowski or Kevin Pierre-Louis when he was out. They are going to be pressed against the cap and could find a way to save money by moving on from Trevathan.

Of course, the question is, how much money? What kind of money will a 30-year old linebacker get coming off of a serious elbow injury? He also missed four games in 2017 and eight in 2018.

Is there going to be a market for this type of player? When looking at the NFL market, there are three current starters over the age of 30 who played over half of their team’s snaps that are signed to recent extensions. Below are their stats compared to Danny Trevathan. The list also has Denzel Perryman, who signed an extension last offseason at age 26 and Todd Davis, who replaced Trevathan in Denver, and will be 29 this offseason. Perryman is younger than Trevathan but has less playing time due to injury, and Davis may be a free agent but signed a deal in the same area of these players in 2018.

These are their stats from the last two seasons to give us a big enough sample, but also show the most recent play of an aging Trevathan.

When you look at the per game metrics and recent contract of Perryman, these players can provide a starting point for what Trevathan could expect to see.

Advanced Stats

The raw data can only tell us so much. How does Trevathan stack up to them with more context added? This is looking at the 2019 season only with numbers from PFF.

Run Stop Rate

Run stop rate is the number of times a failed run or tackle for loss was caused by the linebacker. Denzel Perryman had an 11.4% stop rate, which only bested Trevathan at 10.4%. Demario was at 10.3%, and the other three were below 6%.

Tackle Efficiency

Again, Trevathan is one of the three best tacklers of these six. Demario Davis had a 19.8% efficiency rate, Todd Davis had a 14.8% rate, and Trevathan had a 10.4%. The rest were below 9%. Perryman was at 5.4%. So while he makes more plays, he misses more plays.

Total Stops

The missed time did not kill Trevathan here, which speaks to the type of contract he may expect to get.  Demario Davis had 59 stops, which is why he was rewarded in the media this season. Todd Davis had 39 stops, then Trevathan had 31 stops. Perryman had just 27 stops; Barron had 24, and Bradham had 19.

Yards Per catch

There is no doubt about it, Trevathan can still defend the run. However, he may have lost a step in coverage. He is allowing 10 yards per catch, which is the worst of the group. Barron is allowing 9.7 and Perryman 9. Bradham is allowing 8.8 yards per catch, Todd Davis  8.6 and Demario 6.4.

Yards Per target

Again Trevathan is the worst in yards per target at 8.8. Barron is the next closest at 7.1, a large gap. Demario Davis paces the group at 4.3 yards per target allowed while Perryman, Todd Davis, and Braham are between 6.3 and 6.8.

Air yards per target

This is where we start to see the issues with Trevathan in coverage. He is allowing two air yards per target, which is one of the best rates of the group. Only Demario Davis is better at 1.7. Barron is at 2.5, while Bradham and Perryman are being targeted over 3.6 yards down the field.

Yards After the Catch Per catch

The issue is the yards after the catch allowed. He is allowing 7.8 yards after the reception, which is by far the worst of the group. Quick passes to him were turning into big gains much too quickly, and this will not help him in the meeting rooms. Barron allowed 6.2, and the rest were under five.

Where Trevathan hung with these linebackers against the run, he showed he might be in a similar tier against the pass.

Mark Barron

Barron is much worse against the run but is slightly better against the pass. Still, at the age of 30 and with injuries in his background, he signed a 2-year, $12 million deal last offseason and is not expected to see year two of it. The Steelers can save $6 million this offseason moving on and plan to do so with Devin Bush stepping up as a rookie. He is expected to join Trevathan in a potentially flooded market.

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Todd Davis

Davis signed a three-year $15 million deal. He is a solid tackler, like Trevathan, is slightly younger, and was better last season in coverage.  However, similar to Barron, there are discussions that the Broncos think they are better off saving $5 million this year and moving on.

Denzel Perryman

Perryman is arguably the closest to Trevathan when looking at a contract to performance comparison. The two were closest as tacklers, and while Trevathan was more consistent down to down, Perryman was better in coverage. Both have to carry an injury tag as well. Perryman signed a 2-year, $12 million deal that does not have a lot of year two guarantees. Are you catching the theme?

Nigel Bradham

Bradham signed a five-year, $40 million deal in 2018. However, he may only see two of those years. Trevathan can say with conviction that he is better than Bradham over the past two seasons. However, the Eagles can save $4 million letting Bradham go, who at this point has made about $13 million on two years of his deal.

Demario Davis

Davis is the player that Trevathan will point to. At age 31, he had a career year and earned his 3-year, $24 million deal. He will be the only one of these for sure to not join Trevathan on an open market this offseason. However, as shown, he held up equally against the run and was much better in coverage. On top of that, Davis has not missed a game in his career. Trevathan is much closer to the others in terms of injuries


Trevathan is going to claim he can bounce back, and point to Davis, but he will not get $8 million per year from Chicago or anywhere.

As mentioned, most of these names will join a market that may have Blake Martinez, Kyle Van Noy, and others. The fact of the matter is that signing Trevathan to a 2-year, $12 million deal with about $8 million guaranteed is the standard procedure.

However, as shown, in most cases, those types of deals do not work out as planned.

When going through this exercise, the reality started to set in that there is going to be a team that is optimistic and willing to give him that deal. At the same time, that team should not be the Chicago Bears.

They got the best years from Trevathan, and if he does extend his career after all of the injuries, he would be in the minority of players to do so.