Bears make a big move, but when will it pay off?

Getty Images

The Bears seems to be going all-in with an ace-high hand.

In making a massive trade for defensive end Khalil Mack, and in inevitably agreeing to the massive contract that will go along with it, Chicago wants to reverse a decade of doldrums, featuring no playoff appearances since the day Jay Cutler was smoking a cigarette (not really) on the sidelines during a loss to the Packers in the NFC title game. And so, in the team’s biggest personnel move since trading for Cutler a year earlier, Chicago hopes to get back there.

But when will that happen? The Packers and Vikings are loaded, loaded enough presumably to fend off a Bears team that has a strong defense but a work-in-progress offense that may, or may not, gel quickly under coach Mark Nagy and offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich. If anything, this move puts more pressure on the offense to complement a defense that was already pretty good and now could be a lot better.

If the Bears did indeed give up a pair of first-round picks for Mack, the rationale is simple. No first-round pick is guaranteed to become a great player; if one first-round pick can be packaged with another to give a team a can’t-miss star player, why not do it?

A decade ago, the Vikings applied similar reasoning when sending a one and a three to the Chiefs for defensive end Jared Allen. The third-round pick became insurance that the first-round pick would become a great player, and it did. The Bears are simply using a second first-round pick to nail down a great player with the first one.

The bigger issue is the money. When the Vikings traded for Allen, first-round picks were pricier than they now are. Given the rookie wage scale, it’s much, much cheaper to pay first-rounders than it is to pay established veterans. But it will be easier for the Bears to pay Mack because their potential franchise quarterback, Mitchell Trubisky, is two or three (or maybe four) years away from a second contract. So with Trubisky consuming a lot less cap space than the second overall pick would have gobbled up pre-2011, the Bears can jam a bunch of cash and cap dollars under Mack’s name.

In the end, there’s no guarantee that this move will make the Bears better. But at least it creates the impression that they’re trying, and it carries with it the arguably implicit admission that they haven’t really tried nearly enough in recent years, while their arch-rivals from Green Bay have owned the division.

Speaking of Green Bay, the Packers and Bears get together there in eight days, on Sunday Night Football. And what a night it will be if Mack makes his debut in that game, with his first order of business being chasing around the field the guy who just became the highest-paid player in NFL history.

52 responses to “Bears make a big move, but when will it pay off?

  1. Dang. Not going to fault the Bears at all for this deal. Just glad that the Packers get their first game with them out of the way week one, before he’s gets comfortable and starts making a bigger impact.

  2. In a couple years the Raiders offense is gonna be down to Carr and Cooper unless Martavis Bryant pans out. Don’t forget the Raiders can turn that 2nd first round pick into more picks. This is a good trade for Oakland. Make no mistake. Hate to see Mack go, but it’s a good trade for my Raiders.

  3. If the Packers hadn’t given in to Rodgers passive aggressive extortion demands, they might have been loaded.

    But seeing as how they gave into to the diva, they will continue to be a one trick pony.

    Some have talked about how much cap space the Packers have available next year.

    They obviously have no clue how many unrestricted free agents they have next year (Mathews, Dix, Cobb, just to name a few).

    The regression starts now.

  4. Looking forward to Sept. 9th at Lambeau.

    Kings of the North for the last 30+ years. Remember when the Bears got Julius Peppers in 2010? We were told Super Bowls were coming. I guess they meant us…because we won the Super Bowl that year👌

    Looking forward to Sept. 9th at Lambeau. Greatest Rivalry in Sports. Bears vs. PACKERS.

    #100Seasons

    #TitleTown

    #GoPackGo!

  5. when will these teams learn the salary cap precludes any major investment in any position save quarterback?

    no player, none, not Mack or Donald or any other purported superstar, is worth sinking a fifth of the salary cap in;

    Mack gets hurt and the Bears have no money to collect quality backups so vital to a successful championship;

    it what NE first mastered in 2002 and other teams have imitated, from the Steelers to the Ravens and now the Eagles;

    everyone know losing your franchise QB means the season is over;

    now if the Bears lose either Tru or Mack, their season is over;

    further, they now have no draft capital with which to rebuild in the long term;

    playing Dr. Strangelove with one’s cap budget is truly building one’s own doomsday machine;

    it is simply amazing after over twenty years of salary cap how many front offices don’t see that with all the illustration of NE of that point—or are incapable of duplicating that process;

  6. I can’t blame anyone trading for Mack but the Bears need a lot more than Mack to compete for a Championship and now you are tying down your salary cap and giving up the precious draft picks you need to get you where you want to go. However, this seems like a typical Bears move and why they haven’t nor will get to the Super Bowl anytime soon. Maybe their only concern is selling tickets and making money instead of winning championships. Seems to be their philosophy.

  7. congrats to the Packers on the snow job they just pulled on a division rival, virtually eliminating them from postseason contention for the next five years by buffalo-ing them into believing they were interested in Mack;

    now the Bears have no money to build up a bench of quality backups behind Trubisky on offence or defence in the immediate future and no draft picks to help them dig out of the hole they just dug for themselves;

    sometimes winning off the field is just as important as winning on it, if not moreso;

  8. What an awful comparison to Jared Allen. The hapless and tasteless Vikings never won anything with that mullet head, and he’s primarily remembered for teaching Loserville to “embrace the suck” – a legacy that holds true there even today.

  9. Not sure if Bears fans should be excited or a bit concerned about this. They are theoretically rebuilding, gave up draft capital to get Trubisky, now give up more draft capital for Mack, and will have to take a huge non-QB cap hit to do so. Even if Trubisky’s reported 2INTs per practice are not indicative of future performance, this could hamstring the Bears for a few years. Then again, combining Mack with that 1st round LB will make for a kick-ass D.

  10. gtodriver says:
    September 1, 2018 at 10:44 am
    If the Packers hadn’t given in to Rodgers passive aggressive extortion demands, they might have been loaded.

    But seeing as how they gave into to the diva, they will continue to be a one trick pony.

    Some have talked about how much cap space the Packers have available next year.

    They obviously have no clue how many unrestricted free agents they have next year (Mathews, Dix, Cobb, just to name a few).

    The regression starts now.

    \\\\\\

    Another guy who’s been hoping for regression since Favre was winning MVP’s…..

  11. minneanderthals says:

    This puts the Bears into the second place conversation with the Lions.
    ####

    I agree. The Bears just leapfrogged the Packers by improving their defense.

  12. freefromwhatyouare says:
    September 1, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Remember when the Bears got Julius Peppers in 2010? We were told Super Bowls were coming.
    __________

    Remember when the Packers got Julius Peppers in 2014? We were told Super Bowls were coming.

  13. Gotta figure the Raiders figured they could get better value with two 1st round picks from the Bears than two 1st round picks from the Packers (one via the Saints). And from Mack’s point of view he’s guaranteed to get time off in January and February.

  14. Rob Brzezinski is a Magician says:
    September 1, 2018 at 11:32 am
    freefromwhatyouare says:
    September 1, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Remember when the Bears got Julius Peppers in 2010? We were told Super Bowls were coming.
    __________

    Remember when the Packers got Julius Peppers in 2014? We were told Super Bowls were coming.

    ——-

    Remember when Zimmer when we were told Zimmer will take the vikings to the promised land? With a home field superbowl? One hail Mary from a one and done, followed up by an epic meltdown?

  15. And what a night it will be if Mack makes his debut in that game, with his first order of business being chasing around the field the guy who just became the highest-paid player in NFL history.
    —————-
    With the new Aaron Rodgers penalty, all any defense guy is allowed to do is chasing him around. If he is tackled, it will be considered a dirty hit by Gumby fans.

  16. filthymcnasty3 says:
    If it puts some juice back into the greatest rivalry in the history of sport.
    ))))))

    Oldest and greatest aren’t the same thing for your information. Always one of the duller NFL games to watch most years.Both teams have been good at the same time recently in the 2000’s otherwise the pack has had the upper hand since Favre came in. Even that NFC championship game between pack-Bears was boring. Cutler’s 1-13 record against the pack killed it.

  17. andrwken says:

    Another guy who’s been hoping for regression since Favre was winning MVP’s…..
    ###

    With the Vikings winning 2 of the last 3 NFC North titles and 4 of the last 5 games between our squad, it’s readily apparent the regression has started.

    With Mack on the Bears, the Packers are in jeopardy of starting the season 0 – 2.

    If AP can run roughshod against the Packers like he normally does, it just might be 0 – 3…

  18. gtodriver says:
    September 1, 2018 at 12:09 pm
    andrwken says:
    Another guy who’s been hoping for regression since Favre was winning MVP’s…..
    ###
    With the Vikings winning 2 of the last 3 NFC North titles and 4 of the last 5 games between our squad, it’s readily apparent the regression has started.
    With Mack on the Bears, the Packers are in jeopardy of starting the season 0 – 2.
    If AP can run roughshod against the Packers like he normally does, it just might be 0 – 3…

    —————–

    The Vikings are actually more likely to go 0-3.

    Especially after the first series where your o-line gets your 84 million dollar man murdered.

  19. Not a smart move by the Bears. A mediocre team can take a chance giving up a big chunk of cap space OR giving up some prime draft picks–BUT NOT BOTH.

    This kind of move almost never works.

  20. .
    The Bears have been the NFC North doormats for a decade. They are gambling that they can assemble a defense to neutralize the 800 lb divisional gorilla, Aaron Rogers. The only way to contain him is with relentless pressure. With time he’s just too good.

    PS – let’s not forget the Bears other NFC North rivals are led by Kirk Cousins and Matthew Stafford who have quality NFL resumes also.
    .

  21. Rodgers remained silent throughout the contract extension consideration, knowing the Packers WANTED to compensate him fairly. They could’ve made arrangements for Mack too, but ultimately the price was too high. There are no guarantees, despite whatever the Vikings may think.

  22. Aaron Rodgers has never remained silent in his life.

    He perpetually whines about everything.

    He just went in to Gutie’s office this morning and asked, “Why can’t we get nice things?”.

    Gutie reminded Rodgers “that there are 176,000,000 reasons why and that if Aaron would look in the mirror, he could see all of them at one time.”.

  23. A poor trade all the way around. Bears are now in cap hell and Gruden has no clue on who to select with those picks. But Gruden could care less since he has a 10 year contract.

  24. There are many sought-after players that make “all-about-the-money” demands, like Mack and Cousins. They talk about it a lot too. Thank God Rodgers is better than that and does not behave that way. He’s a real professional and Packer fans love having him on the team. It’s funny………because Viking fans would trade “guaranteed” Cousins for Rodgers with a snap of the fingers……..if they could.

    Good luck with that.

  25. stellarperformance says:
    September 1, 2018 at 12:26 pm
    Rodgers remained silent throughout the contract extension consideration.
    ———
    Except for pushing the Falcons in getting a deal done for Ryan so Aaron could get on with his life.

    And Aaron discussing new contract agreement structured to keep him the highest paid player always.

    And Aaron discussing how wrong the NFL salary cap is that limits his earning potential.

    And Aaron leaking his record contract to the media.

    And Aaron whining that he couldn’t get more because it’s not like the NBA.

    You are foolish with this claim Stellar.

  26. This was a dumb move for the Bears. Seriously dumb move. They are at best a 3rd place participant in that division for the next few seasons even with Mac. They should have continued the road they were on which was drafting well, and building a good roster and a cap to support keeping that talent. Instead they have blown up their cap, for a guy who will make little to no difference in their divisional standings in the next few seasons.

  27. It really comes down to both teams having different philosophies on how to win. The Bears are willing to pay for a proven player and give up draft picks, while the Raiders believe they can find good players in the draft, and would rather have more draft picks. Only time will tell us which team is better off, but I think it’s the right thing to do for both organizations.

  28. Can’t wait for season to start. All of the pack trolls will run back in their little holes until the next preseason champion can be crowned. I give you the 2018 preseason champions the green bay packers.

  29. freefromwhatyouare says:
    September 1, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Looking forward to Sept. 9th at Lambeau. Greatest Rivalry in Sports. Bears vs. PACKERS

    ////////////////////////
    Good on the Bears to improve their team considerably. The yellow and green have had their way with the Bears for a very long time. The playing field has been leveled, should be a fun game to watch. The greatest rivalry in sports? I give that to Yankees/Red Sox or Celtics/Lakers.

  30. flviking says:
    September 1, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Good on the Bears to improve their team considerably. The yellow and green have had their way with the Bears for a very long time. The playing field has been leveled, should be a fun game to watch. The greatest rivalry in sports? I give that to Yankees/Red Sox or Celtics/Lakers.
    ____________

    Leveled the playing field? You mean like when they signed Julius Peppers? Or the Vikings traded for Jared Allen? One defensive player, no matter how elite, rarely makes a huge difference. I mean, there’s no question he makes the Bears better, but it’s not like he’s the missing piece that pushes them over the top. They still have other holes to fill.

  31. beerbratscheese says:
    September 1, 2018 at 3:39 pm
    flviking says:
    September 1, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    Good on the Bears to improve their team considerably. The yellow and green have had their way with the Bears for a very long time. The playing field has been leveled, should be a fun game to watch. The greatest rivalry in sports? I give that to Yankees/Red Sox or Celtics/Lakers.
    ____________

    Leveled the playing field? You mean like when they signed Julius Peppers? Or the Vikings traded for Jared Allen? One defensive player, no matter how elite, rarely makes a huge difference. I mean, there’s no question he makes the Bears better, but it’s not like he’s the missing piece that pushes them over the top. They still have other holes to fill.

    /////////////////////

    The Bears had a top 10 defense last year, adding Mack will make a very good defense better maybe top 5. With the additions to the offense the Bears just passed the packers. Deal with it.

  32. Oh my, I’ve been telling people this NFC North is loaded with talented and I could see each team having a winning record at the end of the year – DO NOT SLEEP ON THE BEARS! SKOL

  33. This makes the Bears competitive. The NFC Norris division is not known for its great offensive line play. Green Bay and Detroit both have suspect o-lines, which makes this a nightmare acquisition for Rodgers and Stafford.

    I think the division is the Bears for the taking. It really depends on how bad they want it.

  34. h0metownzero says:
    September 1, 2018 at 12:19 pm
    The MN Vikings. 57 seasons. 57 participant ribbons.
    /////////////:/:////////////

    The official name is Attaboy Banners. I hear they have a lot of them. They must, considering no team has lost more games in the postseason than the Vikings, and this includes all the ancient old-school seasons when only “six” teams played! In fact, the Vikings have more one-and-done postseason appearances than anyone else too! Can you imagine! That would be enough to silence any big-talker, right?

    Right?

  35. stellarperformance says:
    September 1, 2018 at 6:19 pm
    h0metownzero says:
    September 1, 2018 at 12:19 pm
    The MN Vikings. 57 seasons. 57 participant ribbons.
    /////////////:/:////////////

    The official name is Attaboy Banners. I hear they have a lot of them. They must, considering no team has lost more games in the postseason than the Vikings, and this includes all the ancient old-school seasons when only “six” teams played! In fact, the Vikings have more one-and-done postseason appearances than anyone else too! Can you imagine! That would be enough to silence any big-talker, right?

    Right

    ////////////////////

    A Bears story and two packer trolls talking about the Vikings. Great job Bears getting Mack. Your top 10 defense just got a lot better. Monsters of the Midway are back! Looking forward to a fun season in the NFCN.

  36. Mack is definitely worth two firsts. Would’ve liked to have seen him on the Packers, but I get it. As has been stated, it makes more cap sense for the Bears than the Packers, given Trubisky is on his rookie deal. The Packers primary concern now is to project their franchise (Rodgers) from the likes of monsters like Mack. Our division just got tougher, which, ala iron sharpens iron, may be good for all of us.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!