Who is to blame for Khalil Mack trade from Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears - Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears traded Khalil Mack in a move that surprised many, but also could have been expected in other regards. Fans will not be happy with the first big move of the Ryan Poles era, but in a lot of ways his hands were tied, and there was nothing he could do. For one last time, before fans pile on Ryan Poles for selling a franchise favorite cheaper than expected, we need to remember that this issue is directly tied to Ryan Pace.

The issue is not that Ryan Pace traded for Khalil Mack. Mack was a great player and could have been worth it had the roster been constructed more reasonably. The issue with Ryan Pace was that he consistently pushed Mack’s salary down the line after paying him.

In 2019, they pushed about $8M down the road. Then, in 2021 they saved about $13 million in restructures. Ryan Pace had a habit of going all-in and not worrying about the future. That can be clear with the Mack restructure because at some point, somebody was going to have the bill due.

Of course, because of his other moves, he did not have to deal with the consequences of the saved money he got from Khalil Mack’s restructures. That onus was on Ryan Poles.

.Not only did Ryan Poles have to pay the tab that Pace left for a player who is starting to get older, Pace also maxed out all of the cards. The Chicago Bears have a pretty bare roster right now, and every key player is either a free agent, or in the case of Danny Trevathan, and Eddie Goldman, dead money walking.

Ryan Poles has to manage a bad cap, and beyond that, Ryan Pace traded pick after pick to move up, add veterans, and all of the above. This left Poles with few draft picks. It was starting to get hard to see how the Chicago Bears would put together a complete roster with the lack of draft picks, lack of cap space, and holes.

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So, did the Chicago Bears get less for Khalil Mack than most had hoped? Yes, but the reason is that Mack had a bloated salary thanks to Ryan Pace, and he just so happened to be coming off of his worst season when the cap hits, and the roster holes started to hit.

This is what happens when you keep taking from the future. It is smart on Poles to clean this up now and not keep pushing this issue off any longer.