Robert Quinn is looking for the exit door. That much is obvious. The Pro Bowl pass rusher is coming off the second-best season of his career, breaking the Chicago Bears‘ single-season record with 18 sacks. He proved yet again he is one of the best in the NFL when he’s healthy. Now the veteran is hoping to exit stage left. Not out of any contract holdout. It is merely out of hope the organization will give him a chance to chase a ring. Something they are in no position to do right now.
The problem is the Bears don’t want to give him away. He is an integral part of their defense. Surrendering his pass rush skill for a few mid-round draft picks isn’t something GM Ryan Poles is interested in. At the same time, other teams don’t appear eager to give up 2nd or 3rd rounders for him. Thus things remain in a holding pattern. There is one possibility that remains out there to consider.
A player-for-player swap.
Such instances are rare, but they’ve been known to happen. Two teams have players of similar age making similar money they can afford to unload. Those players might be more welcome on the other roster. A recent example was when the Indianapolis Colts sent cornerback Rock Ya-Sin to the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue. There was also when the Chargers swapped tackle Russell Okung for guard Trai Turner. It’s happened more often in recent years.
So looking across the NFL landscape, is there any deal (on paper) that would make sense for both sides? One does stand out. It involved the Bears sending Quinn to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for right guard Zack Martin. Both players are the same age at 32 years old. They both had health issues in 2020 and rebounded significantly last year. Both also fill big needs for the other team.
that Zack Martin + La'el Collins double team had some pop to it pic.twitter.com/DbVik7nRVo
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) December 6, 2021
Offensive linemen don’t make posters on bedroom walls. If they did, let one be of Cowboys RG Zack Martin blocking a rusher with each hand on third down with team tied in fourth quarter.
We will attend his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony someday. pic.twitter.com/XugCO5HMQB
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 22, 2021
Robert Quinn for Zack Martin isn’t crazy.
Right now, the Cowboys have $22 million in cap space, so they can afford Quinn’s $12 million price tag. Their pass rush took a major hit this offseason when Randy Gregory left in free agency for Denver. They’re left with Dorance Armstrong, Dante Fowler, and rookie Sam Williams as their best options opposite Demarcus Lawrence. Quinn is superior to all of them, and it’s not that close.
As for the Martin angle, don’t forget Dallas drafted Tyler Smith in the 1st round last April. He’s expected to play guard for them. They should still have a solid front for Dak Prescott, as much as losing the All-Pro would hurt. The Bears would get an instant dose of credibility for their offensive line, plugging the biggest hold on their front at right guard. Justin Fields would be far more secure, and Luke Getsy’s running game would also get a big jolt.
The money is only around $5 million apart.
It’s a long shot. That much is obvious. Dallas needs more pass rush help but may not be willing to sacrifice a likely future Hall of Famer to get it, even at his age. That said, if they want to avoid giving up draft picks, this might be the only way to convince Poles to part ways with Robert Quinn.