All the talk this offseason will be about the quarterbacks. This isn’t anything new. That position dominates the NFL because the NFL wants it that way. Quarterbacks sell tickets. Quarterbacks get ratings. The Chicago Bears weren’t privy to this trend until it was too late. Now they’ve been trying to catch up ever since without any success.

Every major move they’ve made in the past 20 years has been a complete flop. Rex Grossman? Bust. Jay Cutler? Overrated. Mitch Trubisky? Disappointment. Nobody has been able to shoulder the responsibility of being a franchise quarterback in Chicago. Thus the search continues and figures to be more frantic than ever in 2021.

What with several jobs on the line if they fail.

GM Ryan Pace blew his best opportunity with the Trubisky pick back in 2017. He’s been trying to clean up that mess ever since. Many believe he doesn’t deserve the privilege. Yet chairman George McCaskey gave it to him. The landscape ahead does offer its opportunities. By the look of things, the best shot the Bears will have to land a difference-maker this year is on the trade market.

Deshaun Watson is the obvious name to watch with his ongoing saga in Houston. However, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, and Jimmy Garoppolo are others to watch. Not to mention Sam Darnold in New York. It’s an intriguing collection of names. That being said, is this the only trade action Bears fans are liable to see?

Chicago Bears may not just be buyers on the market

A source explained recently not to expect Pace to just focus on acquiring a QB on the trade market. Certain players on the current roster could be headed out the other direction. Most of them likely on the defensive side of the football. It’s important to remember the defensive payroll in 2021 will be over $117 million. By far the highest in the NFL. Considering the unit surrendered at least 27 points in four of the final six games of the regular season? That is starting to look like wasted money.

There is a belief in a growing possibility that a number of core veterans could be moved while they still have some value, both for cap space and for draft picks. This would be for two key reasons. The Chicago Bears salary cap is projected to be just over the red line when the offseason begins and they need space. Also, this would help them regain some of the picks they’re likely to lose if they do end up trading for a quarterback.

It may not be a strategy people like but it makes sense.

Anybody with a large contract who is getting on the older side should be considered tradeable at this point. Khalil Mack, Kyle Fuller, Akiem Hicks, Robert Quinn, and Danny Trevathan. All of those guys could be on the table and there will be plenty of defensively-starved teams looking for help. If the Bears feel like they can land a QB they want, expect these secondary plans to get in motion.