Mentioned in trade rumors earlier this offseason, Robert Quinn is not expected to join the Bears’ new-look front seven at the team’s minicamp. The 12th-year vet plans to stay away from this week’s mandatory workouts, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
The Bears purged their defense of many veterans this offseason. They traded Khalil Mack, cut Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman and let Akiem Hicks defect to the Buccaneers. Quinn, who is in his third season with the Bears, may well want out. Matt Eberflus said he has talked with Quinn throughout his first offseason as Bears HC but added, via ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin (on Twitter), this is an unexcused absence and that he hoped the veteran pass rusher would be on-hand.
Although D.K. Metcalf and Terry McLaurin have been absent for their teams’ respective minicamps, this is not an especially common practice. Players are subject to more than $90K in fines for missing mandatory workouts. Of course, Quinn — who signed a monster Rams extension back in 2014 and landed a nice Bears accord in 2020 — has made considerable dough as an NFLer. Still, Quinn is by far Chicago’s best pass rusher at this point. The team moving on from him would further gut its defense.
The Bears trudged through a rough 2021 season, but Quinn turned it into a showcase year. At age 31, Quinn broke Richard Dent‘s single-season Bears sack record — which had stood since 1984, when the Bears notched a still-standing NFL record for team sacks (72) — by notching 18.5 in 16 games. Quinn would stand to help most contenders’ pass rush situations, should the Bears end up dealing him.
Chicago gave Quinn a five-year, $70MM deal in 2020. After fading during his final years with the Rams and not standing out during a 2018 Dolphins one-off, Quinn rebounded with the Cowboys in 2019, when he recorded 11.5 sacks. The Bears have paid out Quinn’s guarantees, giving them flexibility to move on ahead of Week 1, when vested veterans’ salaries become locked in.
New GM Ryan Poles said earlier this offseason a Quinn trade was not on the team’s radar. The accomplished veteran does carry a team-high $17.1MM cap number, and the Bears could both pick up an asset and save some money by trading him. Should another team agree to take all of Quinn’s $12.8MM salary, that would benefit a rebuilding Bears squad. Collecting a draft pick for Quinn now may be prudent for Poles, considering the veteran edge rusher’s two-sack 2020 showing.
Absent Quinn, sacks may be difficult to come by in Eberflus’ first season in charge. The team did not operate aggressively to replace Mack in free agency, signing ex-Eberflus Indianapolis charge Al-Quadin Muhammad, and it waited until Round 5 to address the position (Dominique Robinson.)