There’s been plenty of talk this offseason about which quarterbacks could be targets for trades, but someone whose name has been heating up in trade rumors recently is Chicago Bears edge rusher Robert Quinn.
Chicago isn’t in a position to contend for the playoffs this season and still at least a couple of more years away from getting there. Their best bet for now is continuing to build up draft capital over the next two years to bring in more young pieces around quarterback Justin Fields on offense and linebacker Roquan Smith on defense.
The Bears have already started to move in the teardown and rebuild direction this offseason. They traded away edge rusher Khalil Mack for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 sixth-rounder earlier this season and allowed receiver Allen Robinson to walk in free agency.
Quinn could bring a similar return to Mack’s as he comes off one of the best seasons of his career and one in which he set the Bears’ new franchise record with 18.5 sacks in a single season. As our own Carmen Vitali noted earlier this week, trading Quinn is in the best interest of everyone, including Quinn himself, who has been absent from Chicago’s minicamp.
As one of last year’s top players at a premium position like edge rusher, Quinn is a guy that should be in high demand for teams more likely to contend this year. Of all the possible suitors, these are the teams that should push the hardest to trade for the Bears’ outside linebacker.
The Cardinals were a playoff team last year but lost some big names on both sides of the ball this offseason. Perhaps their biggest loss was edge rusher Chandler Jones, who finished his final season in Arizona with 10.5 sacks and the fourth Pro Bowl nomination of his career.
While Arizona did draft two more edge rushers—Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders—as potential replacements for Jones, having another proven veteran asset opposite Markus Golden would keep their defensive front a scary one. That leaves the rookies to rotate in for the veterans up front. Thomas could keep Watt fresh as more of a defensive end-type player and Sanders with Quinn or Golden as an outside linebacker.
In a division that had three playoff teams—including the Super Bowl champion Rams—last year, maintaining a strong pass rush is crucial for the Cardinals if they want to make another playoff run. Losing Jones would hurt a whole lot less if his replacement was an addition as high-caliber as Quinn.
Kansas City Chiefs
One of the Chiefs’ biggest struggles throughout all of last season was getting to the quarterback with their pass rush. Even as a top 10 team in both pressures and hurries, Kansas City finished in the bottom four in the NFL with just 31 sacks as a team in 17 games. Given the big improvements other teams in the AFC West have made to their pass rush this offseason—the Raiders added Chandler Jones, the Chargers added Khalil Mack and the Broncos brought in Randy Gregory—as well as the quarterback talent in the division, upgrading their defensive front should be a priority for Kansas City.
Like the Cardinals, the Chiefs drafted an edge rusher to help themselves out. George Karlaftis could ball out as a rookie, but an addition like Quinn could add even more production alongside fellow Pro Bowl D-linemen Frank Clark and Chris Jones. With Clark’s declining production and Quinn’s comparatively low cap hit going into 2023 as well, the Chiefs have another great reason to bring in the Bears’ new sacks king.
Best of all, Kansas City has the capital to afford Quinn without destroying their future drafts. They’ve got 10 picks for 2023 and all of their own picks besides a conditional seventh-rounder in 2024. Don’t count out Bears general manager Ryan Poles’ connection to Kansas City either, as that could play a big factor as well.
Dallas is another team that had a solid pass rush last year but lost one of their key pieces this offseason. The Broncos’ aforementioned addition of Gregory came at the cost of the Cowboys’ pass rush, though they still have DeMarcus Lawrence and last year’s breakout star Micah Parsons.
If the Cowboys want to maintain and even potentially upgrade a pass-rush attack that ranked near the top of the NFL in sacks, pressures and hurries in 2021, Quinn would be a great addition. Of course, Quinn has a connection with Dallas already too. The veteran edge rusher played there in 2019 in what was among his best seasons—11.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three pass deflections.
Quinn also brings improved run-stopping to the table in a division with the run-heavy Eagles, Dallas’ biggest rival for the NFC East throne in 2022. The Cowboys’ previous connection to Quinn and their opportunity to make a massive upgrade to their defensive front makes this match a perfect one.