Russell Wilson sounds like a dream for the Chicago Bears. Make no mistake though. What’s going on up in Seattle is real. All is not well between the Seahawks and their star quarterback. Enough to where they are seriously entertaining phone calls regarding the possibility of trading the 32-year old. Unsurprisingly, the Bears are reportedly very interested in such a deal. People have brainstormed what they could possibly offer in return. One name that isn’t mentioned too much is Khalil Mack.
There are two reasons why this might be the case. He’s turning 30-years old this year and he’s one of the highest-paid defensive players in the NFL. Why would Seattle want him included in such a deal? Rob Staton, who runs the underrated Seahawks Draft Blog, provided some great information on this. People are too focused on 2021. They need to look beyond this year. When doing so, the idea makes a ton of sense.
“The clear and obvious target would be Khalil Mack.
He graded as the NFL’s #1 edge rusher in 2020 according to PFF with an elite grade of 92.5. He has been a consistently brilliant force. Adding him to Seattle’s defense could elevate the entire unit — allowing them to rush more effectively with four defensive linemen.
The Seahawks would have him under contract for the next four years with a salary of $17m in 2021, $12m in 2022, and $17m in 2023/24.
That would be a bargain for one of the best pass rushers in the league.
You could cut Carlos Dunlap, replace him with Mack, and it’d only cost you $3m to upgrade.”
Seattle wouldn’t look down at this idea.
Dunlap will cost them over $14 million this season. By getting Mack back in the trade, they’d secure a better, younger pass rusher for just a couple of million more. One they’d control for multiple seasons. If things go as expected and fans are allowed back into stadiums this year, the NFL revenue streams will be restored. That means a higher salary cap in 2022 and lots of room for the Seahawks. Mack’s deal will look like a bargain by that point.
The Bears, for their part, would secure $5.246 million in instant cap space by sending Mack to Seattle. Then another $22 million would come in 2022. That would make it far easier for the team to handle Wilson’s contract and perhaps continue to tinker with the roster in free agency since they’ll obviously be missing a good number of high draft picks.
Replacing Khalil Mack will be the harder part
A guy like that is not something one just replaces. Ask the Las Vegas Raiders. They’ve been trying to fill the void he left behind since he left in 2018. If traded, the Bears would have just Robert Quinn, Trevis Gipson, and James Vaughters as their edge rush room. Not exactly a group you’d feel confident about getting after Aaron Rodgers during the season.
So one would imagine the team would have to try finding some help. Luckily this offseason may offer some solutions. Free agency will bring a host of intriguing names including Yannick Ngakoue, Takkarist McKinley, Carl Lawson, Haason Reddick, Markus Golden, Trey Hendrickson, Bud Dupree, Jadeveon Clowney, Leonard Floyd (!), Shaquil Barrett, and Olivier Vernon. While none are as good as Mack, all have viable pass rush skills that would be a tremendous help to the defense in his absence.
This may not please Bears fans.
Most would no doubt prefer the future Hall of Famer finishes his career in Chicago. However, this team can’t afford to be stingy. They have a chance to acquire a genuine franchise quarterback for the first time in forever. Khalil Mack is a phenomenal player but not even he could impact this team as Wilson could. If Seattle wants him involved in the deal, the Bears must do it. Nothing off-limits.