The Chicago Bears are going into the 2022 offseason as a wild card. This is what happens when a team changes its entire power structure. GM Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus run the show now. This means that no player on that roster can be considered safe. Especially when the team lacks resources both in terms of money and draft picks, that is why speculation remains about whether they might consider potential trades in the coming weeks with big names like Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson, and Robert Quinn.
Any one of those three names would probably fetch a decent return. It comes down to whether the Bears are willing to absorb significant hits of dead money to make them happen. Mack is into his 30s now and just got done missing ten games last season with a foot injury. It is difficult to say how much gas he has left in his tank. As for Jackson is a shadow of the player he was in 2018 but is still a versatile safety a creative defensive coordinator can utilize.
What this comes down to are deadlines.
Deadlines spur action. Is it likely the Bears trade Mack or Jackson? No. Both still might have solid value in Matt Eberflus’ new defense, and the dead money incurred for ($27 million for Mack and $13 million for Jackson) would be hefty. That said, there is a definitive point of no return as far as the Bears are concerned. Joel Corry of CBS Sports, a former agent, laid it out in detail. They aren’t going anywhere if both players are still on the roster past March 18th.
(Day 3 of 2022 League Year)
Edge rusher Khalil Mack’s $5.5 million roster bonus is due. $5 million of teammate Eddie Jackson’s $11 million 2022 base salary is already fully guaranteed. The safety’s other $6 million becomes fully guaranteed. The entire $11 million was guaranteed for injury at signing.”
In other words, if the Bears want to get out of paying those two $11.5 million in guaranteed money, they’ll have to work a trade before the third day of the new league year. Not impossible. Most trades tend to happen in the week leading up to the first day. By then, the Bears should know if Khalil Mack or Eddie Jackson could fetch something good on the market. Under the circumstances, it feels like neither is likely.
Not just because of dead cap issues. There is also the fact that both might be worth more to the Bears defense by staying put. With so much work to do on offense, it doesn’t feel like the wisest move to deplete the defense. Not if they want to compete in 2022.
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