Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Why Matt Eberflus’ Answer On Khalil Mack Trade Was Not Normal


There is a reason NFL teams prefer to pair a GM with a head coach. It is a popular structure for one reason. It keeps all the facets of a team’s well-being in mind. The head coach worries about the present. His entire focus is winning games that given year. Meanwhile, the GM is supposed to have his eyes down the road, crafting a plan to keep the roster competitive over the next two, three, or four seasons. That is why organizations prefer to avoid combining the two jobs in one. Coaches rarely operate with concerns about where a team will be in a couple of years. That is what makes Matt Eberflus rather unique.

Under normal circumstances, the 51-year old probably would’ve implored the organization to keep star pass rusher, Khalil Mack. Despite his injury setback in 2021, there are plenty of reasons to think he’ll bounce back this season. A pairing of him and Robert Quinn again should help ensure the defense is strong for another year. However, Eberflus revealed to Bears media that he was in agreement with GM Ryan Poles.

Trading Mack was in the best interests of the organization long-term.

“We just thought what was best for the organization going forward, looking at the whole piece of it,” Eberflus said. “It will be good for us in the long run.”

“When I was younger maybe I looked through a straw, but now you have to look that way,” he said. “You have to be able to look and see down the road, but you also have to come back to your (present).”

‘‘You’ve gotta look at the whole roster,’’ he said. ‘‘Where are you going to add pieces? What can you do with the shifting and the allocation of funds? And where’s it going to go in the future? And I think that’s what the club looked at and that’s what we’re excited about going forward.’’

Eberflus sees the big picture.

Having Mack would’ve been nice for this year and maybe next year. After that? The returns would’ve started to diminish. Conversely, by trading him now, they recouped two draft picks, including a 2nd rounder, and freed up a ton of salary cap space in 2023. Those resources can be put to great use in helping out the entire roster. It takes more than one great player to field a championship team. Losing him hurts now, but parting ways was still the right decision.

Matt Eberflus doesn’t plan on being the Bears’ head coach for a couple of seasons. He’s aiming far higher than that. He wants to run this organization for a decade. To do that, he must be willing to take the long view. Build the roster through the draft, develop young players from the ground up, and lay a foundation. Many coaches aren’t willing to do this. He isn’t afraid of that challenge, which is good for Chicago.

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