With one big move still to happen (at quarterback, of course), it feels like Ryan Pace is doubling down on a Super Bowl run in 2020.
Keeping Danny Trevathan and agreeing to sign Jimmy Graham weren’t exactly aggressive moves. But then Pace agreed to sign Robert Quinn, who had 11.5 sacks last year with the Cowboys, to a five-year, $70 million deal, per multiple reports. In the same breath, the Bears jettisoned Leonard Floyd, who had three sacks in 2019.
The Bears are undoubtedly a better team with Quinn, not Floyd, playing opposite Khalil Mack. Floyd didn’t win enough of the one-on-one matchups lavished on him thanks to all the attention paid to Mack. Meanwhile, Quinn was one of the NFL’s most productive pass rushers in 2019, and coupled with a healthy Akiem Hicks (and Roy Robertson-Harris, and Eddie Goldman, and Bilal Nichols, and Roquan Smith), the Bears’ pass rush should be incredibly fearsome in 2020.
Who do you block? That's the question so many teams struggled to answer in 2018. Though in 2019, the answer was easy with Hicks hurt and Floyd ineffective.
The Bears still need to find a new starting cornerback and another safety, but swapping Quinn for Floyd should help maximize Mack’s prime.
But Quinn will turn 30 in May, about a month and a half after Trevathan turns 30. The Bears are not looking for a youth movement on defense, with Hicks and slot corner Buster Skrine in their 30’s, too. Eddie Jackson, Roquan Smith, Kyle Fuller, Goldman and Robertson-Harris are all still in their 20’s, but those additions happened a few years ago.
This is the sort of defensive roster you put together if you think your team has a legitimate shot at contending for a Super Bowl in the next few years.
If flags fly forever, worry about 2022 later.
We’ll see how Quinn’s contract is structured, but the guess is that the Bears used the $13 million savings they netted by cutting Floyd to sign both Trevathan and Quinn, at least as it relates to 2020. That means there’s cap room available to grab a quarterback who can not only push Mitch Trubisky, but take his job.
Now, it’s on Pace to find that quarterback. The Bears’ defense is why this team is operating like its Super Bowl window is open. But the quarterback will still make or break this whole thing.