3 Reasons the Chicago Bears should trade Khalil Mack or Robert Quinn

Chicago Bears - Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack,
Chicago Bears – Photo by Mike De Sisti / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK /

Neither Khalil Mack or Robert Quinn will be key to the Chicago Bears future

Khalil Mack is 31 years old. Robert Quinn is nearly 32. Both are capable of playing good, if not great football for another three to five years depending on injuries. Many might be thinking, but Rob, with Justin Fields’ rookie contract, the window to win is never better than over the next four years. That’s partly true, but at the same time, that cannot happen unless the offense sees drastic improvement. To see the offense shift into a powerhouse means the salary cap allocation must change.

Currently, the team is paying nearly 30% of its salary cap to the defensive side of the ball. Khalil Mack is a big hit of that with 14.34% allocated to his salary alone. Robert Quinn is number two, Eddie Jackson is number three and Eddie Goldman is number five. Cody Whitehair is the only offensive player to be in the top five of salary cap allocation for the Chicago Bears and honestly, they need to consider moving on from him too if they can trade him post-June 1.

The team is stuck with Eddie Jackson this year, but they can definitely move on from one of Khalil Mack or Robert Quinn this offseason should they find a trade partner willing to give up enough draft capital. Trade rumors for Khalil Mack were apparently heating up at the 2022 NFL Combine. I’ve seen people talk about the cap hit. This is only truly a problem if the team is going to lose money when cutting a player. That’s not the case with either Quinn or Mack.

Should the Chicago Bears trade Khalil Mack, the team that would be trading for him would only have to pay him $12.05 million this season in base salary. His base salary in 2023 and 2024 would be $17.2 and $17.5 million and his roster/workout bonuses would also kick in. The Chicago Bears would be on the hook for the remaining $24 million in bonuses that would go on the 2022 books as dead cap. Eating $24 million in dead cap to save only $6 million dollars seems like a tough pill to swallow, but it shouldn’t matter. This is not about the 2022 season, it’s about building the future.

Robert Quinn’s contract is similar. Trading him would give the Chicago Bears a $4 million dollars cap savings. Quinn would come with a $12.8 million base salary for his new team in 2022 and then they’d be on the hook for his $18.2 million cap hit in 2023 and his $17.2 million cap hit in 2024.

I’m not looking at post-June 1 trades for either player at this point unless the draft pick value the team nets in return is not great enough for 2022. Trading Mack post-June 1 gives the Bears a $17 million dollars savings, but they cannot use it until after June 1, 2022, which doesn’t help much in free agency this year. Trading Quinn post-June 1 gives the Bears over $12 million to work with.