The Bears aren’t a new starting left guard away from stopping their two-game skid and fixing Matt Nagy’s broken offense. Yet they need a new starting left guard.
That’s the dilemma facing general manager Ryan Pace before the NFL trade deadline passes at 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday. And I don’t get the sense the Bears are likely to make a trade between the time you’re reading this and Tuesday afternoon.
The Bears are an undisciplined – yet still 5-3 – mess, with issues stretching from coaching to the quarterback to, yes, the offensive line. But trading for an offensive lineman would feel like plugging one hole when five others are still filling the boat with water. And plugging that one hole now would create another one later.
Say the Bears traded a fifth-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for center Alex Mack, as our guy David Kaplan suggested on Sunday’s postgame episode of the Under Center Podcast.
The Bears would take on a pro-rated amount of Mack’s $10.55 million 2020 cap hit, probably somewhere a little over $5 million. And while Mack is a free agent after this season, taking on that cap in 2020 would eat into the amount of money the Bears could spend in 2021, since available cap space can roll over from year to year.
So while the Bears have a little under $10 million in 2020 cap space, trading for Mack would, according to Spotrac, actually put them over the 2021 salary cap.
And would trading for Mack, or any other interior O-lineman who might theoretically be available, actually be the thing that makes the Bears legitimate contenders in the NFC North?
I doubt it.
Mack – or any player the Bears trade for – almost certainly would not be available for Week 9’s trip to Tennessee, given they’d have to pass through six days of COVID-19 testing before being allowed inside Halas Hall. So even if the Bears do make a trade, they’d only have that player for seven regular season games.
It won’t be malpractice if Pace stands pat at the trade deadline. We shouldn’t treat the next 24-ish hours in a vacuum. The problems the Bears may continue to face this season will not be caused by inaction.
They’ll have been caused by the wrong actions made earlier this year – like addressing the offensive line with a cheap veteran castaway, two seventh-round draft picks and a new position coach.
And drafting the wrong quarterback in 2017.