Mar 14, 2022 - Sports

Bears unofficially rebuilding after trading Khalil Mack

Football player
Linebacker Khalil Mack is introduced prior to a game at Soldier Field in 2018. Photo: Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New Bears GM Ryan Poles has started his offseason with a bang. Fans aren't sure if that's a good or a bad thing.

Why it matters: The Bears are under new management after a terrible 2021/2022 season, meaning Poles is tasked with building a winner after the firing of predecessor Ryan Pace. The rookie GM's first big move was to trade superstar defensive end Khalil Mack for two draft picks and cap space.

  • Pro: Getting rid of an aging player with a big contract and freeing up money for free agency.
  • Con: Losing one of the best defensive players in all of football for two second-day picks over the next two years.

By the numbers: Since arriving in 2018, Mack had 36 sacks, 52 quarterback hits, and 14 forced fumbles.

The latest: Poles followed up by releasing two stars of the 2018 playoff run: former Pro-Bowlers Eddie Goldman and Tarik Cohen.

The intrigue: NFL free agency begins today at 12pm. By releasing and trading these veterans, the Bears have the money to go after offensive players to help second-year quarterback Justin Fields. Players rumored to be on the Bears' radar include:

  • T Eric Fisher: The offensive lineman played for new Bears coach Matt Eberflus in Indianapolis.
  • WR Juju Smith-Schuster: The still-young receiver looks to be the odd man out in Pittsburgh.
  • WR Emmanuel Sanders: The veteran could bring leadership to the locker room.

What's next: If the Bears don't go after some of the best players early in free agency, it may be a sign that they are sacrificing the upcoming season to rebuild.

  • The team will have over $100 million in cap room for the 2023 season.

💭 Justin's thought bubble: I think fans are going to miss Khalil Mack when opposing offenses start doubling Roquan Smith.

  • Yes, Mack was hurt a lot, but he was also a superstar. I get the merits of a rebuild, but no fan should have to root for that. Ever.
avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found

Chicagopostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.

🌱

Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more