Already king of cool sack celebrations, Trevis Gipson will look to enter the upper tier of pass rushers in 2022. Filling in for an injured Khalil Mack, Gipson recorded five forced fumbles and seven sacks last season. With Mack gone, Gipson is in position to take over a larger role in this Chicago Bears defense.
Gipson’s opportunity begins with the opposite side of the line. Robert Quinn is coming off a historic campaign where he set the franchise single-season sack record. When healthy, Khalil Mack helped draw more running back protection and double teams, opening opportunities for Quinn to reach the quarterback. The same could be true for the Quinn/Gipson duo, as offensive coordinators around the league have awakened to Quinn’s potential for disruption. Look for Quinn’s pass-rushing effectiveness to decrease as Gipson’s goes up.
It’s hard to put a ceiling on Gipson’s potential. He came into the 2021 season as an unproved project player overshadowed by two veterans at his position. With limited starts, Gipson earned a pass-rush grade of 87.0 in 2021, which was enough to place him in the top 10 edge rushers and earn him the ChicagoBears.com Most Improved Player award.
Heading into 2022, there is no reason to believe the chip has left his shoulder. This offseason, Chicago has added two scrappy edge players to compete for the job. Al-Quadin Muhammad had his best year yet in 2021 with Eberflus’ Colts. The 27-year-old posted 6 sacks and 48 tackles (Quinn had 43 and Gipson had 35). Rookie Dominique Robinson is also out to prove he was a steal in the fifth round of the 2022 Draft. With a draft grade of 6.30, he easily could have gone on day two. As a former wide receiver, Robinson already possesses the speed and hand fighting ability that Gipson developed between his first and second year in the league.
While none of these players bring the Mack Attack, that could be a good thing. The Bears get all three for around 25% of Mack’s 2022 salary. Plus, Mack spent much of last season on the IR and is on the wrong side of 30 while Gipson, Muhammad, and Robinson are all young bucks. At the very least, a rotation of the three with Quinn will ensure a relentless pursuit of the quarterback on every down.
With plenty of competition, Gipson will have to bring his A-game throughout the remainder of the offseason. If he improves even half as much as last year, he will be a problem for opposing tackles.