What the Robert Quinn trade means for the Bears’ future
To the teammates who have crossed paths with Robert Quinn, he is simply beloved. The Bears have come to find this during their two-plus years playing alongside him.
Quinn has a remarkably strong perspective on life after being faced with a brain tumor at age 17. He underwent surgery to reduce swelling of the tumor, which was found to be benign. Quinn still lives with the tumor today but has been free of cancer.
“I just try to make the most out of today because tomorrow isn’t promised,” Quinn once said of his story.
Quinn has inspired those around him during his 12 years in the NFL. He was named the winner of the Brian Piccolo Award last year, the franchise’s most prestigious individual honor. He was also recognized as the Jeff Dickerson Good Guy Award winner by the Chicago media. And he was voted a captain for 2022 by his Bears teammates. It’s why there’s such sadness at Halas Hall to see Quinn go.
The Bears are trading Quinn to the Eagles in exchange for a fourth-round pick, a source said. NFL Network first reported the trade on Wednesday afternoon.
Bears linebacker Roquan Smith broke down in front of reporters as news of the trade became known. Inside the locker room following a walk-through practice, there were surely more emotions shared. But the NFL is a difficult business and these are the decisions that must be made.
While the 32-year-old Quinn is a respected presence for the Bears, first-year general manager Ryan Poles cannot hold onto such sentiments from his seat in the front office. He has to do what’s best for this franchise in the long-term. Despite Chicago earning a surprising 33-14 win at New England on Monday night and moving to 3-4 this season, Poles is leading a careful process forward with hopes of sustained success in the future.
Poles stated on Day 1 back in January that the Bears’ goal is to “take the (NFC) North and never give it back.” Every decision must be made with that in mind, as difficult as they may be.
The reality is that the Bears are better off with every asset for their future and a fourth-round pick is a quality return from the Eagles. Quinn has just one sack and 14 pressures in seven games this season, this after breaking the franchise’s single-season sacks mark with 18.5 in 2021. The Bears also open up more than $18 million in cap space for next year and will enter the offseason with the most money available of any team in the NFL.
Frankly, the Bears missed out on a greater return for Quinn by holding onto him this long. Back in March, the Bears dealt star pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Chargers, parted ways with veteran mainstays in Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman, Danny Trevathan and Tashaun Gipson, marking their direction towards the future.
Quinn’s place in the Bears’ 2022 plans was always a bit precarious. Perhaps there were trades discussed during the offseason but it was more likely than not he would fall off in production from a record-breaking last season.
Poles may have held out hope that the Bears could deal Quinn for the same package the Broncos received from the Rams at the 2021 trade deadline. Denver acquired a second- and third-round in exchange for Von Miller, who was the same age as Quinn is currently.
But Miller had 4.5 sacks through 7 games last season and looked to be still at the height of his career. The Rams made that bold move for Miller and it paid off as he helped them to a Super Bowl championship.
Perhaps Quinn can find his best form in Philadelphia and have the same type of impact Miller brought in Los Angeles. The Eagles are 6-0 and believe their defense became more dangerous by bringing in Quinn.
Despite the accolades of his stellar career, Quinn has never won a Super Bowl championship. In fact, he has played in just two playoff games — both losses. He has a chance to lift the Lombardi Trophy in Philadelphia.
After bidding farewell to Quinn and focusing on their future, the Bears will be hoping he finally gets that chance to win with the Eagles.