10 Takeaways from the Chicago Bears Khalil Mack trade

Chicago Bears - Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, Khalil Mack
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Based on the Bears trading Khalil Mack, the Bears’ new general manager, Ryan Poles’ game plan for 2022 and beyond appears to go along these lines. He wants the Chicago Bears to focus on building up the offense in 2022 at the expense of their defense in order to accelerate the development of Justin Fields. This should play out with the Bears adding two new guys for the offensive line from free agency and or the draft.

Chicago Bears Takeaway No. 2: Ryan Poles should draft two WRs

Given that this draft is loaded with wide receiver talent, Ryan Poles should if at all possible draft two wide receivers in 2022. However, also acquiring an accomplished free agent wideout would benefit Fields in this way. The jump from college to the pros is typically a tough one for wideouts. The Vikings, Justin Jefferson, is an exception to this rule. However, it is said that the exception proves the rule. It makes lots of sense to give Justin Fields an experienced NFL wide receiver as one of his main safety valves, go-to-guys when he needs one.

Chicago Bears Takeaway No. 3: The team has a boatload of cap space for 2023

This is the most significant benefit of this trade for the Chicago Bears. They now have a boatload of cap space in 2023. It is being reported that the Bears will have $121 million dollars in cap space in 2023. (Editor’s Note: This is now around $130 million after the Tarik Cohen and Eddie Goldman cuts)

There is also a hidden cap space benefit to this trade. It is common knowledge that the most significant uptick in an NFL player’s career is from the first year to the second year. Lovie Smith would bring this up all the time with the media. The hidden benefit of this trade for Justin Fields this season is that in order for the Bears to get all the needed pieces of their offensive puzzle in place now, they can push a big chunk of money from each 2022 free agent signing into 2023.

For example, the Giants signed Kenny Golladay in 2021 to a four-year deal that averages 18 million per year. Yet in 2021, the cap hit for Golladay was only 4.4 million. This means if the Bears believe they need an experienced left tackle to protect Justin’s blindside they can sign one and still fit into their 2022 cap. Ryan Poles can push some big chunks of 2022 contracts into 2023.

They might also decide that it is best for Justin Fields to get Amari Cooper should the Cowboys not find a trade partner and have to release him. Cooper will obviously be very expensive. However, the Bears can then manipulate his contract for 2022 like the Giants did for Golladay in 2021. With how much salary cap they should have left in 2023, they still can spend free agent money in 2023 like a drunken sailor spends money out on a night of shore leave.