Why the Chicago Bears trading Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 4th-round draft pick ‘made too much sense’ – The Denver Post


General manager Ryan Poles made another major move in the Chicago Bears rebuild Wednesday, trading defensive end Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Bears will receive a fourth-round draft pick in return, while the 6-0 Eagles acquire a veteran pass rusher with 102 sacks during a 12-year NFL career. That includes a Bears-record 18½ sacks last season.

From a business standpoint the deal, in Poles’ words, “made too much sense.”

“This is going to allow us to continue to build a highly competitive roster,” he said.

Nonetheless, it was an emotional day inside Halas Hall as players, coaches and front-office executives dealt with the human side of Quinn’s exit, saying goodbye to one of their team captains and most respected leaders.

“The human part of it is that you know you’re affecting not only a man but his family,” Poles said. “You’re kind of shaking that all up, and I don’t take that lightly at all. I’m sensitive to that.

“You also know that you’re tweaking the fibers of your locker room, and that’s a big deal too.”

Quinn, 32, had one sack, three quarterback hits and two tackles for a loss in the first seven games this season.

Former Bears GM Ryan Pace signed Quinn to a five-year, $70 million contract in 2020, and Quinn had only two sacks in his first season in Chicago. He bounced back in a big way in 2021, finishing a half-sack shy of his career high of 19 in 2013 with the Rams.

As the dust settles, there’s a lot to assess in the Bears’ latest high-profile roster move. What does this trade say about how Poles views the current Bears? Did he get enough in return? And should the Bears weigh any other moves as the Tuesday trade deadline approaches?

Tribune reporters Colleen Kane and Dan Wiederer sort it out in this edition of “Real Talk.”

Colleen Kane: Well, Dan, we’ve been hearing speculation about whether Quinn would be traded since Poles took the Bears reins in the winter, and he finally made the move to further dismantle the defense his predecessor Pace assembled.

Poles signaled which direction he was taking in March when he traded Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 sixth-rounder. This move probably doesn’t hit fans quite as hard as the trade of Mack, who was a symbol of the Bears’ Super Bowl expectations in 2018 and 2019.

But the team is parting with a player who set the franchise sacks record last season — and was well-respected throughout the locker room.

Poles said Sept. 1 that he hadn’t traded Quinn because of the example and leadership he provided to a young locker room. In reconstructing this team, Poles sees value in having players with varying experience levels.

He reiterated Wednesday what he valued most in Quinn.

“I knew the way he played this game, the motor and all that,” Poles said. “We needed that to kick-start how (defensive coordinator) Alan Williams and (coach Matt Eberflus) wanted to play defense.”

Still, a lot of people, me included, assumed Quinn would be on his way out sooner rather than later.

Dan Wiederer: Yeah, Wednesday’s move wasn’t necessarily surprising. But it was jarring nonetheless, most notably because of how respected Quinn was inside the Bears locker room since his arrival in 2020.

Reporters learned of the trade while Bears linebacker Roquan Smith was conducting an interview inside the PNC Center. As the Quinn news settled in across the room, Smith broke down, fighting back tears and ultimately cutting his interview session short so he could compose himself.

“Yeah, man,” he said. “Sucks. I have a great deal of respect for that guy. Man. Crazy.”

That’s all Smith could muster before the emotion got the better of him and he left the room.

That represents the human side of a business decision.

“I’ve talked about that a lot — the locker room and what it means and the culture,” Poles said. “And it sucks to mess with that, to be completely honest with you.”

We all know how special Quinn can be as a pass rusher, with an extraordinary ability to bend and turn the corner. We saw him at his absolute best in 2021, when he broke Richard Dent’s 37-year-old single-season team record for sacks.

Furthermore, over the last three seasons, those of us who cover the team on a regular basis came to appreciate what Quinn meant to those around him at Halas Hall. He was voted a team captain this season. Coaches gushed over the way he approaches his craft. He was selfless in his mentorship of younger players, most notably taking Trevis Gipson under his wing the last three years and also aiding rookie Dominique Robinson this season. That’s the kind of stuff that will be sorely missed.

This was a calculated and practical move for the Bears, a deal Poles couldn’t turn down. But it will take some air out of the room for a few days.

Kane: We appreciated Quinn as reporters too! He was the co-recipient of the media’s “Jeff Dickerson Good Guy Award” last season for his sometimes quirky but often honest and insightful answers.

In a news conference in July amid the trade rumors, he emphasized multiple times that he wanted to stay in Chicago, that being traded twice in his career was enough. But for a guy who has played in only two career playoff games, I have to think it’s not terrible for him to be going to an Eagles team in the midst of a special season.

And for the Bears, this made sense, even if they have to eat some of his remaining salary this season. Quinn doesn’t fit in their long-term plans, so getting draft capital for him was the smart move.

There may be some debate about whether Poles could have gotten more for Quinn in the last offseason, when he was coming off his 18½-sack season. He has only one sack in seven games this year. But I’m not sure what type of production would have moved the needle to a higher draft pick.

Either way, this deal fit with what Poles told us recently about weighing potential moves at the trade deadline and prioritizing the goal of sustaining success above everything else.

“For the future I think this is going to give us the ability to continue to grow and build the foundation that we’re trying to build,” Poles said Wednesday. “That is the exciting part.”

Wiederer: It’s impossible to argue much with what the Bears got back. In the big picture, this was a can’t-pass trade offer for Poles that provides valuable draft capital in exchange for a player who will be well past his peak by the time the Bears become legitimate championship contenders again. Through that lens, Wednesday’s move was a win, even if the Bears had to agree to pay the bulk of Quinn’s remaining salary to finalize the deal.

Now it’s up to Poles and his talent evaluation staff to use the Round 4 selection they got to land a player next spring who can become a difference maker.

For a player of Quinn’s achievement, he was as down-to-earth, humble and open as you’ll find in this league. Now he’ll have to get his feet on the ground in Philadelphia. But on an undefeated Eagles team chasing the grandest of goals, the adrenaline rush should come quickly and allow Quinn to find his niche.

For the Bears, this means more responsibility will be heaped on Gipson, Robinson and Al-Quadin Muhammad, with all three players needing to respond quickly as pass rushers. It will be interesting to see how that goes.

The next question then, Colleen, is whether any more wheeling and dealing is ahead for Poles before Tuesday afternoon.

Kane: Yes, I will be interested to see if Poles can pull off any other moves before next week’s deadline.

Smith presents an interesting conundrum because of the way contract extension talks broke down in the offseason. The 25-year-old linebacker could be seen as a long-term building block for the Bears defense — if the sides can reach a deal on a new contract. But if Poles doesn’t think they can, is it possible he would push hard to move Smith now instead of using the franchise tag next season?

The Bears also have been successfully using two running backs: David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert. Would Montgomery, also in the final year of his contract, make sense as a trade chip?And with the offense needing help at wide receiver, are there any options with long-term potential available to acquire? It’s worth watching.

Wiederer: Odds are the Bears won’t do much more. Poles seemed to indicate Wednesday that things were quiet on the trade market after the Quinn deal, though he did vow to keep a pulse on things.

Even with a necessary long view, the Bears must also keep their focus on the now, which means trying to follow up Monday night’s energizing victory over the New England Patriots with another encouraging effort Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

Not only were the Bears trying to reset and refocus in a short week before their fourth road trip of October, but now they will have to navigate around the emotional impact of the Quinn trade.

Poles expressed confidence in Gipson, Muhammad and Robinson to pick up the slack in the pass rush. He also singled out Jaylon Johnson, Eddie Jackson, Justin Jones and Smith as established leaders on defense who must continue setting a tone with their play and work habits.

In the big picture, Wednesday’s trade is almost certainly a plus for the Bears. Still, the mixed emotions of the day were significant.

“You know how much Robert means to his teammates,” Poles said. “And that’s why these decisions, they’re really, really tough because it’s not a transaction. It’s deeper than that.”

At the end of the day, Poles understood his responsibility to sift through that emotion.

“My job,” he said, “is to do what’s best for this organization not only now but in the future. I felt like that was the best move for us to make.”



Source link