On Monday, the Chicago Bears had their best performance of the season, defeating the New England Patriots 33-14. It was Justin Fields’s best performance of the year, and now shows a trend of Fields performing very well on Monday Night Football. Things finally are starting to look up in this rebuilding year.
On Wednesday, however, we were reminded that this Chicago Bears team still has a long way to go. The league’s only undefeated team and NFC number 1 seed, the Philadelphia Eagles, traded a 2023 4th round pick to the Bears for EDGE Robert Quinn. Quinn, a 3 time Pro Bowl DE, broke the Bears single-season sack record last season, with 18.5 in 16 games, including many without Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks. But seeing as those veterans were purged from the roster this offseason, it was only a matter of time before Quinn followed. After playing well the first two games of the season, he disappeared for the next 4 before rebounding against New England. The Bears likely could have gotten at least a 3rd for Quinn prior to the season, but to still get a 4th is decent. The Eagles, meanwhile, get pass-rushing reinforcements to help push for a Super Bowl. Overall, the Bears could get a B- for this trade, and the Eagles an A-.
Now that the most obvious Bears trade is done with, could we see any more moves from this team before the November 1 deadline? Let’s take a look.
Are there any other players the Bears MUST get rid of by November 1?
Quinn was the obvious one. Outside of him, I wouldn’t say the Bears should be hard-shopping anyone. But there are some they should still shop with a week to go.
Who should the Bears pick up the phone for?
David Montgomery: It’s not too unlike the Bears situation with Jordan Howard. Howard eventually went for a conditional 6th that became a 5th, but there were definitely offers of 4th and one rumored 3rd round pick offered during the 2018 season. The Bears were in contention though, so not taking the deal made sense. Now if any teams offer a 3rd for Montgomery the Bears have to take it and run. Maybe even a 4th, but it’s unlikely the Bears get offers higher than a 5th. If so, the Bears will just roll with him and hopefully give him a smaller-scale extension, similar to the one Tarik Cohen received in 2020.
Roquan Smith: I doubt any blockbuster trade happens, but if some contending team gets very desperate for an ILB, maybe the Bears can squeeze out a first round pick. Honestly, it’s very hard to gauge Smith’s value right now. In the end, with all the cap space they have, Chicago will likely franchise tag Smith and try to work out an extension in the range of $17-$18 million a year. (Edit: The Bears got a 2nd, a 5th, and a backup LB for Smith from the Baltimore Ravens).
Cody Whitehair: I’m not saying the Bears should trade their second best OLineman when Fields has very little help as is. But as a veteran, the Bears have to at least listen to any teams calling. Whitehair likely isn’t on this team beyond 2023 unless he suddenly becomes a pro bowler when he returns in a couple of weeks.
DeAndre Houston-Carson/Dane Cruikshank: Any team in need of a dimeback or safety should be going after DHC or Cruikshank. They”ll likely cost a 6th at most and are good spot starters in the secondary. The Bears have their safety duo of the next 3 years hopefully locked up between Jackson and Brisker, and drafted Elijah Hicks too. Getting a 6th means the Bears would have picks in every single round.
Al-Quadin Muhammad/Nicholas Morrow/Angelo Blackson/Mike Pennel: These free agents have been ok for the Bears, but nothing special. Losing them would not harm the Bears defense too much, so decent day 3 picks would be on the menu. I doubt any get traded as all were just signed to the Bears this offseason except Blackson, and for him the DTs have struggled mightily.
Who should the Bears target?
There are a lot of players I’d like the Bears to kick the tires on. Let’s start with who they won’t be able to acquire that has been rumored to be on the block: DJ Moore, Elijah Moore, Jerry Jeudy, Bradley Chubb, Mike Gesicki. I doubt any of these guys get traded. Gesicki though could be a free agent target in March.
Now for players that could definitely get traded: The Bears main needs looking at the roster are WR, OL, and DL. So let’s look at those positions.
WR: Chase Claypool may be a bit pricey, and he may have an ego, but his intangibles are great and would give the Bears an X receiver. Brandin Cooks likely will end up on a contender and not another rebuilding team but would be the Bears best receiver easily. After already getting N’Keal Harry from them, the Patriots may be shopping Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. Ironically, the Bears may just wait and try for Jakobi Meyers in free agency. Denzel Mims, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and Kadarius Toney have been on the block for a while now and stand to be cheap, though the Giants may not want to give up on Toney so soon. Amari Rodgers has not lived up to expectations in Green Bay. Marquez Callaway and Tre’Quan Smith are buried on the Saints depth chart. As are Russell Gage and Scotty Miller in Tampa, where Tyler Johnson is now a free agent again. KJ Hamler or Terrace Marshall Jr are options.
I would have wished the Bears also got a 6th for Quinn so they could have flexibility to do a late round swap for any of these guys so they would maintain their number of picks. Regardless, none of these guys save for Claypool or Cooks or Toney will cost more than a day 3 pick. None will save the Bears offense, but they will at least help Justin Fields develop more.
OL: Matt Hennessy, the Falcons starting center in 2021, has been displaced by a rookie, and frankly center is the Bears weakest OL position. Ben Cleveland is an intriguing guard prospect from Baltimore. Isaiah Wynn has had a couple of solid seasons in New England, but has struggled at RT this year, maybe returning him to LT will work. The biggest potential fish in the sea is Andre Dillard. Now that the Bears traded Quinn to Philly and he wasn’t in the return, it’s unlikely they trade him this year, but a guy on the bench who could start for a number of NFL teams has to be at the top of the Bears free agency list in March along with Orlando Brown Jr who is too pricey to trade for but could part ways with KC in March.
DL: The Cowboys DL is stacked, so Tarrell Basham could be the odd man out at DE. The Bears might want to take a shot on former Jacksonville first rounder K’Lavon Chaisson at EDGE. Ditto for Chargers former second-rounder DT Jerry Tillery.
Other: I just want to highlight a couple of very good DBs who may be available even if the Bears don’t need a DB. You can never have enough DBs. Sidney Jones, Bryce Hall, Rashad Fenton, and DeShon Elliot. Again, at least a phone call.
Hopefully by next week one or two of these guys are on the Bears without them giving up more than late-round compensation.