Danny Trevathan has a long injury history and is getting up there in age. Can the Chicago Bears trust him?
One of the bigger questions that the Chicago Bears face entering 2020 is the health of Danny Trevathan. After losing Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis, the depth at linebacker is much thinner than in recent years.
Beyond that, Trevathan has not been a beacon of health. Trevathan has missed four or more games due to injury in four of his eight NFL seasons. That includes three of the past four years in Chicago.
Trevathan may not miss the full season, but there is a very real chance that he is going to miss games at some point. Beyond multiple seasons filled with injuries, Trevathan just turned 30 years old this offseason.
30 is not old for the general public, but in the NFL, that typically is an age that signals decline at most positions, including linebacker. So, not only is Trevathan fighting the injury plague label, he is fighting father time.
Young man’s game
When looking at the NFL last season, only six players were on the field for more snaps than Trevathan at an older age than Trevathan. That list includes Mark Barron, K.J. Wright, Demario Davis, Jaime Collins, Sean Lee, and Thomas Davis. What is worth noting is that Lee and Davis are the only above age 31, and Barron is currently unsigned as we speak after his 2019 season at age 30.
The season before, only Wesley Woodyard can be added to the list of NFL linebackers with 10 starts over the age of 30. In 2019 Woodyard was benched during the Titans playoff run, and like Barron, he is currently unsigned.
Going back to 2013, only 22 NFL linebackers started 10 games of more at age 30 or older. Of those, seven, like Barron and Woodyard saw their age 30 as the end of the road. That leaves 15 linebackers since 2013 to be effective beyond the age of 30.
It is fair to note that Demario Davis and Jamie Collins will be added to that list this year.
Sean Lee, Thomas Davis, Wesley Woodyard, Lawrence Timmons, Derrick Johnson, Karlos Dansby, David Harris, Paul Posluszny, DQwell Jackson, Daryl Smith, Chad Greenway, Larry Foote, Kevin Burnett, London Fletcher, and Lance Briggs are the only other players to hit that total age 31 or older.
The biggest thing that stands out from all of those is that only Sean Lee has played fewer games before turning 30 due to injury. The rest is a beacon of health, which helped them succeed in their 30s.
The issue with Sean Lee being a comparable is that the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch, which has limited the number of snaps per game of Lee and has kept him healthy. The Bears do not have that kind of depth and may still be using Trevathan to call plays.
Danny Trevathan is signed through 2022
Not many linebackers with an injury history as long as Trevathan last beyond their age 30 season. However, Trevathan could give 9-10 solid starts this season before things really seem to fall apart at age 31 or older. The issue is that the Bears did not bring him back for one last run. They anticipate him to be in the mix for the next three years.
When looking at linebackers with 10 starts, only 15 hit that mark since 2013 at age 31. At age 32, just 12. The number goes from 9, to 5, to 4, to 3, and a 1, London Fletcher, who started until he was 38.
Still, the reality is that linebackers with more proven track records than Trevathan have seen father time catch up with them before age 32. The Bears have typically known when to fold them when it comes to injuries and they have been right about Bryce Callahan and Cameron Meredith. However, considering the age and injury status of Trevathan, it shows to the type of player and leader he is that the Bears were so willing to bring him back despite his risks.