Ryan Poles has made his first blockbuster move as Bears GM. According to multiple reports, he’s agreed to trade superstar pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers. In return, the Bears will receive a second-round draft pick and a sixth-round draft pick, per the reports.
Mack has been the most impactful player on the Bears defense since 2018, when Ryan Pace traded away two first-round picks, a third and a sixth to bring him to Chicago. In four seasons with the Bears, Mack racked up 36 sacks, 14 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries. He was off to a fast start in 2021 with six sacks in seven games, but a foot injury cut his season short.
The Bears will be unable to replace what Mack brings to the team with those two picks, but by trading him now Poles made a play for the long term development of the team. This is our first indication that Poles may not believe the Bears are close to competing for a Super Bowl. If he did, he probably would’ve hung onto the superstar edge rusher. Looking at the return, a second-rounder this year, and a sixth-rounder next year are certainly not a major haul, especially when you consider Von Miller fetched the Broncos a second and a third, as a rental player. But since Mack is 31, Poles may believe the Bears won’t be ready to compete until Mack is over the hill. If he thinks Mack’s value will only go down from here, too, it was obviously the best time for him to make the move.
According to OverTheCap, the Bears will have $24 million in dead money this year for trading Mack, while freeing up $6 million in salary cap space.
Mack is a three-time First-Team All-Pro and has been named to the Pro Bowl six times. He also won defensive player of the year in 2016.
Now the Bears will turn to Robert Quinn, Mario Edwards and Trevis Gipson to generate quarterback pressure.