4 Defensive ends the Chicago Bears could trade for to fix their pass rush in 2023

Chicago Bears, Chase Young
Chicago Bears, Chase Young / Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears, Danielle Hunter
Chicago Bears, Danielle Hunter / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears could trade for Danielle Hunter

Inner-divisional trades are somewhat rare in the NFL -- especially when it comes to established players. It is also not likely for a team to trade away two bigger-named players from the same position unless that team was looking to rebuild. I don't see the Vikings as a truly rebuilding team, but with reports of Dalvin Cook being traded or waived, maybe I'm wrong. Minnesota just shipped Za'Darius Smith to the Browns for two fifth-round picks.

Smith only played in one game for the Vikings in 2021. However, over a three-year span including 2022, 2022 and 2019, Smith racked up 36 sacks. I am a little shocked that Smith was traded instead of Danielle Hunter. Mainly because Smith has better-proven production as an outside linebacker than Hunter. Hunter finished with 10.5 sacks last season but is better with his hand on the ground. Now that the Vikings are running a 3-4 base front, could they move Hunter for the right price too? It's also a possibility that the Vikings move on from Hunter because he's up to his old off-field tricks again.

Hunter is about to earn $5.5 million this season and is in the last year of his deal. Reports are that he will not report to the voluntary mini-camp and wants a new contract. Just like Carl Lawson, I'm not confident that Ryan Poles would move draft capital for an aging defensive end. That said, unlike Lawson, Hunter has proven elite pass-rush ability. Would the Vikings move on from Hunter due to his off-the-field negotiating tactics? Would Ryan Poles want that type of drama after dealing with Roquan Smith? Would the Vikings trade him to a team in the NFC North?

Too many question marks here, but I think it's at least worth exploring with a phone call.