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Nick Kwiatkoski’s deal with the Las Vegas Raiders will reportedly be for $21 million over three years, with $13.5 million guaranteed. That’s awfully similar to the money the Bears committed to Danny Trevathan. 

So did the Bears make a mistake by signing Trevathan last week, before Kwiatkoski’s market developed?

Nah. 

Kwiatkoski is a good player, and yes, he’s three years younger than Trevathan. His coverage skills improved in 2019, and he’s always been a solid run-stopping thumper who has a good knack for hitting home on blitzes. 

The Raiders are getting a good player. But the Bears are better off with Trevathan, even if the money is effectively equal. 

Why? Trevathan is a better football player than Kwiatkoski, and his leadership and experience would’ve been difficult to replace. 

Trevathan’s age isn’t a big deal here — over the last decade, there were 66 instances of a linebacker over the age of 30 to record at least 100 tackles in a season. Trevathan turns 30 this year. For whatever reason, off-ball linebackers often have greater longevity than players at other positions. 

The Bears need Trevathan to stay on the field, of course, after he missed 17 games due to injury in the last four years. Assuming some risk there feels fine based on the details of Trevathan’s contract: 

Ryan Pace and cap guru Joey Laine got creative here to spread Trevathan’s cap hits out, allowing them flexibility in 2020 while keeping a core piece of their defense. Maybe they could’ve let Trevathan see what was available on the open market and got him for a little cheaper, but a cap hit under $5 million in 2020 is more than palatable. 

So don’t let Kwiatkoski’s deal with the Raiders change your perception of Trevathan’s deal with the Bears. It’s still a good deal! And also, the Bears could be in line to get a fifth-round comp pick in 2021 for letting Kwiatkoski go. That's also important in evaluating the Bears' decision, which in this case, still was the right one.