Ryan Poles made a vow when he became GM of the Chicago Bears. He was going to fix the offensive line. That was his top priority. Nobody was surprised. The man played offensive line in college and briefly in the NFL. It is natural he would view success on offense through that lens. Especially after watching Justin Fields get sacked 36 times last season. The problem is finding the talent necessary to reach those goals. Perhaps Andre Dillard could be one such solution.
Poles himself said that offensive tackle is one of the premier positions he feels is most important in football. When teams have good players in those spots, they have a lot of success, as his Kansas City Chiefs proved in 2019. Is Dillard somebody that can check such a box for the Bears? Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report thinks so. He called a trade for the 26-year old the ideal move for Chicago this offseason.
“The Bears went with Jason Peters at left tackle this year and spent a second-round selection on Teven Jenkins. However, Jenkins only played in six games as a rookie because of a back injury.
Dillard would give the Bears a more experienced tackle who is still only 26 years old. He gave up just one sack in 340 snaps this season, per PFF. They could slot Dillard in as Peters’ replacement and move Jenkins over to the right side.”
The start of his NFL career was a frustrating one for Dillard.
He didn’t start much as a rookie in 2019, stuck behind two Pro Bowlers in Lane Johnson and Jason Peters. A year later, he was finally set to take over at left tackle but tore his bicep in the preseason, ending his 2020 before it began. By the time he was ready to go last season, the Eagles had come across a viable alternative in Jordan Mailata. This put Dillard’s long-term status in Philadelphia into question.
Even so, he still ended up logging the most snaps (340) of his career at left tackle. In that time, he showed considerable progress from his last notable appearance with just one sack and one hit allowed on his quarterbacks in 250 pass blocking snaps. It wasn’t always perfect, but the former 1st round pick showed signs that he could be a good player given more time to get settled.
— Thomas R. Petersen (@thomasrp93) November 6, 2019
— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) September 28, 2021
Andre Dillard is worth the risk (at the right price)
The problem with that is Eagles GM Howie Roseman. He is notorious for hanging onto players until he can “win” a trade. In other words, give them up for more picks than they’re probably worth. See the Carson Wentz deal with Indianapolis last year. This could make negotiations tricky if the Bears were indeed interested. Then again, Poles would have some things going in his favor.
Despite being a former 1st round pick, Andre Dillard hasn’t played much since 2019. If that weren’t enough, he is playing in the last year of his current rookie deal. This puts the Eagles on a timeline. If they don’t trade him by May 2nd, no team could utilize his 5th-year option. That would hurt his value even further. For the Bears, his modest $3.93 million salary cap hit this year would be easy to absorb.
It comes down to compensation.
If the Eagles end up demanding a 3rd round pick or higher, which seems likely, then it isn’t the best idea to make such a deal. Thanks to Ryan Pace and his aggressive trades, Poles is already light on high draft picks. They’ll need him to be closer to the Day 3 pick range to get Dillard.