Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Poles insisted that he isn’t undertaking a wholesale rebuild when he met with the media in his pre-draft press conference Tuesday. Instead, he suggested the Bears are, in a way, remodeling. But when NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted later that day that Chicago is receiving trade interest on edge rusher Robert Quinn, it’s hard imagining the Bears’ 2022 season as anything but a knock-it-down, build-it-back-up year.
“Late night with the wife, you’re watching TV, you get the home network, where there are some rooms that are good,” Poles said from Halas Hall. “You might have to redo some countertops over here, some fresh paint over there. Some rooms are good. You don’t need to touch them. So that’s kind of the thought process there. That’s not a rebuild.”
Sure, that’s not a rebuild. But those shows are often centered around a quick remodel to flip the property for a fast profit. Poles has been suggesting all offseason that his plan is focused on sustained and long-term success, and in order for that to happen, he has to dig up the foundation.
Poles already took a proverbial hammer to the core of the Bears’ roster this offseason. He sent all-world edge rusher Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers for a second-round pick. There was no effort to re-sign veteran wide receiver Allen Robinson in free agency, and long-time stalwarts on defense, Eddie Goldman and Akiem Hicks, have moved on.
Now, Robert Quinn and his franchise-record 18.5 sacks in 2021 could be on his way out.
There’s been no indication that Poles is actively shopping Quinn. It’s one thing to take a few calls; it’s another thing to actually make them. Good general managers listen to all trade offers, even for players who are untouchable. Even the most untouchable talents can be had if it’s a generational trade package. And as Quinn said after receiving the Bears’ Brian Piccolo Award Tuesday, anything’s possible.
"At the end of the day, it's a business,” Quinn said Tuesday. “Again, you see Khalil Mack getting traded. Again, it's just a business. Don't dwell on it, too crazy."
It isn’t crazy to think the Bears might actually trade Quinn on draft weekend. Poles emphasized the need to build through the NFL Draft and expressed a desire to acquire more draft capital, potentially in a trade-down scenario. Moving Quinn for that draft capital is another choice for Poles to consider, but it has to be for the right package of picks. Quinn’s remarkable 2021 season is a reminder of how lethal he is as a pass-rusher, even at this latter stage of his career.
What type of return could the Bears get for Quinn? If Mack netted the No. 48 pick, it’s logical to assume Quinn would be at least one round cheaper for teams to acquire. A mid-third-rounder? Maybe an early-fourth? And if that’s the best draft pick that comes back to Chicago for Quinn, doesn’t it make more sense just to keep him?
It all comes back to that pesky word: rebuilding. We’ll know whether Poles is making small changes to paint colors and countertops or taking the wrecking ball to the whole damn thing with his handling of Quinn over the next 72 hours.