The Bears restructured Khalil Mack‘s contract on two occasions. After adding Mack via trade, the Chargers will make it three restructures for the All-Pro defender.
The Bolts created $9MM in cap space by restructuring their recently acquired pass rusher’s deal, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Mack will see $13.5MM of his 2022 base salary converted to a signing bonus.
Although the Chargers have added Mack’s $23.5MM-per-year contract, signed J.C. Jackson to a $16.5MM-AAV deal and reached an agreement with Sebastian Joseph-Day, they are still carrying more than $30MM in cap space. Their recent cut of Bryan Bulagacreated $10.7MM in cap space. On Day 4 of the 2022 league year, Los Angeles’ AFC team ranks fifth in the league in cap room.
Mack’s through-2024 deal now includes $27MM-plus cap figures for the 2023 and ’24 seasons. In terms of per-year average, Mack and Joey Bosa ($27MM AAV) represent the most expensive pass-rushing duo in NFL history. But the Chargers will be able to further bolster their roster around Justin Herbert and their new outside linebacker tandem.
Sebastian Joseph-Day is switching teams, but he won’t have to move all that far. The former Rams defensive tackle is signing with the Chargers, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter).
It’s a three-year deal worth $24MM, including $15MM in guaranteed money.
The 2018 sixth-round pick had spent his entire career with the Rams. After being inactive for every game during his rookie campaign, the defensive tackle established himself as a consistent starter between 2019 and 2021. The defensive tackle started 31 games during his sophomore and junior year, and he started another seven games in 2021. He missed the second half of the campaign while dealing with a torn pectoral, but he managed to return in time to play in the Rams’ Super Bowl victory.
In total, he finished last season with 38 tackles, three tackles for loss, and a career-high three sacks.
After four seasons in Chicago, Khalil Mack is headed back to California. The Bears and Chargers are nearing a trade for the All-Pro edge defender, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The sides have nearly completed this deal, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
The Chargers are set to send the Bears second- and sixth-round picks, Rapoport tweets, for the eight-year veteran. The Bears will receive the Chargers’ 2022 second-round pick and their 2023 sixth. This will reunite Mack and Brandon Staley, who coached the Bears’ outside linebackers from 2017-18.
No contract adjustment is coming, per Rapoport, who adds the Chargers will take on the remaining three years and $63.9MM on Mack’s pact (Twitter link). That contract will be more manageable for the Chargers, with no guarantees remaining on the deal.
Mack is coming off an abbreviated season, but the former Raiders top-five pick and NFL Defensive Player of the Year is still regarded as one of the best pass rushers in the game. Mack is set to team with Joey Bosa in Los Angeles. The Chargers rank in the top five in the NFL for cap space, giving them an easier path to absorbing Mack’s contract compared to most teams.
While this is a major move, it comes a year after the Raiders discussed reacquiring Mack from the Bears before the 2021 free agency period. Chicago passed but saw Mack go down with a foot injury midway through last season. Mack underwent surgery and missed nine games. Prior to last season, however, the three-time All-Pro had never missed more than two games in a season.
The 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, Mack went to Chicago in 2018 for a monster haul. Chicago sent Oakland a package headlined by two first-round picks. The Bears gave Mack a then-defender-record $23.5MM-per-year contract. Three seasons remain on that deal. Mack is set to earn $12.1MM in base salary next season. The Bolts, however, now boast the most expensive pass-rushing duo in NFL history. They signed Bosa to a $27MM-AAV extension last year. This move likely will send previous Bosa sidekick Uchenna Nwosu elsewhere; Nwosu is set to hit free agency next week. This is a luxury many teams could not afford, but the Bolts have Justin Herbert tied to a rookie deal until at least 2023.
Mack, 31, played a major role in lifting the Bears to the 2018 NFC North title. He collected his third All-Pro honor that year. The Buffalo alum will head to Los Angeles with four double-digit sack seasons and six Pro Bowls on his resume. This represents another move for one of the highest-profile divisions in recent memory. The Broncos sent the Seahawks two firsts for Russell Wilson this week, giving them a much better shot to contend in the AFC West. The Bolts now have a top-tier edge tandem to throw at Wilson, Patrick Mahomes and Derek Carr.
The Bears still have Robert Quinn, who broke Richard Dent‘s franchise single-season sack record last season, under contract for 2022. But losing Mack is certainly a significant development for the franchise, which recently hired a new coach and GM. This move will douse the Bears in dead money as well, saving them only $6MM in cap space. Chicago will incur a $24MM dead-money charge, part of that coming because the team restructured Mack’s deal in 2019 and in 2021.
Mack missed the two Bears two games previous to their Week 10 bye. The Bears were optimistic that the former Defensive Player of the Year would be able to play this weekend, but the specialists have said otherwise.
Mack, 30, got off to a strong start this year with six sacks across the first six weeks of the season. Up until the foot injury, he had only missed two games during his three-plus-seasons in Chicago.
Acquired via a 2018 blockbuster trade with the Raiders, Mack has been the centerpiece of the past four Bears defenses. The former DPOY has delivered on the Bears’ investment, even though the gaudy Oakland sack totals have not followed him to Chicago. And, even though Mack’s double-digit sack streak ended after 2018, but was well on pace to post his fifth 10-plus-sack slate this year. Pro Football Focus graded Mack as its No. 1 edge defender in 2020, despite his lower sack (9) and QB-hit (13) totals.
Mack, who will be absent from the Pro Bowl list for the first time in a long time, remains under club control through the 2024 season. For right now, the Bears find themselves at 3-6, down both Mack and longtime defensive leader Danny Trevathan.
Bruce Irvin has found his next gig. The veteran linebacker has signed with the Bears, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). Irvin confirmed the signing himself on Twitter.
Irvin made a name for himself back in Seattle, collecting 22 sacks between the 2012 and 2015 seasons. He later spent two-plus seasons with the Raiders (adding another 18 sacks), and after finishing the 2018 campaign with the Falcons, Irvin compiled another 8.5 sacks with the Panthers in 2019.
Irvin returned to Seattle prior to the 2020 season, and he started each of the team’s first two games. However, he suffered a season-ending ACL tear, and he’s remained unsigned throughout the entire 2021 campaign.
Now 34, Irvin will have a tough time replicating the pass-rushing prowess he displayed earlier in his career. However, he will add some reinforcement to a banged up Bears edge. Khalil Mack missed the Bears two games prior to their Week 10 bye, and his foot injury has lingered into this week. However, the team is optimistic that the former Defensive Player of the Year will be able to play this weekend.
Khalil Mack is battling a foot injury that might send him to injured reserve. The elite edge rusher is not expected to play this week against the 49ers, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, who add the Bears are considering placing Mack on IR (Twitter link).
This would certainly be a blow to a reeling Bears team, which ranks last offensively. Chicago has again attempted to rely on its defense to stay in contention, but the Bears dropped to 3-4 after a blowout loss to the Buccaneers. Losing Mack for three games could KO the team’s fading postseason chances.
The 30-year-old star has gotten off to a strong start this season, having registered six sacks. Mack has not missed a game yet this year, and he has only missed two games during his three-plus-season Chicago stay. An IR trip would sideline Mack for games against the 49ers, Steelers and Ravens. With Chicago’s bye coming in Week 10, Mack would not be eligible to return until Week 12.
Acquired via the 2018 blockbuster trade with the Raiders, Mack has been the centerpiece of the past four Bears defenses. The former Defensive Player of the Year has delivered on the Bears’ investment, even if the high sack totals from Mack’s Oakland days have not followed him to Chicago. Mack’s streak of double-digit sack seasons stopped at four after his All-Pro 2018 showing with the Bears, but he is well on pace to post his fifth 10-plus-sack slate this year.
This foot problem stands to impede his pursuit, though it is not yet certain Mack will be down for more than just Week 8.
Lacking an impact pass rusher since trading Khalil Mack to the Bears in 2018, the Raiders signed Yannick Ngakoue to bolster their defensive end corps in March. However, before that agreement came to pass, the team hatched a rather unusual plan.
Just before signing Ngakoue, the Raiders contacted the Bears about reacquiring Mack, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reports (subscription required). Both the Bears and Raiders made cap-related moves this spring, each shedding some starters for financial reasons. The Raiders wondered if the Bears, who would soon shop Kyle Fuller before making him a cap casualty, would send Mack back to them amid their cap crunch.
In what still had to be a fascinating phone call on the Bears’ end, they told the Raiders they were not interested in trading Mack, Tafur adds. Mack, now 30, is going into his fourth season with Chicago. The Bears’ top pass-rushing cogs — Mack, Robert Quinn, Akiem Hicks — are all north of 30 now. But the team was not interested in what would have been one of the more interesting trades in modern NFL history, given the nature of Mack’s Oakland exit three summers ago.
The Raiders’ decisions to extend Derek Carr and Gabe Jackson in the summer of 2017 while making Mack wait — a common practice made possible by the fifth-year option being included in first-rounders’ deals — irked Mack, per Tafur. And the Raiders devoting funds to lower-profile free agents during Jon Gruden‘s first months back in power bothered the pass rusher to the point he broke off contact with the team. The Raiders signed a host of midlevel free agents that March — from Jordy Nelson to Rashaan Melvin to Tahir Whitehead — and Mark Davis said in 2018 Mack refused to talk to Gruden and then-GM Reggie McKenzie going forward.
Mack, who is 3-for-3 in Pro Bowls with the Bears, is signed through the 2024 season. Pro Football Focus graded Mack as the No. 1 edge defender in 2020, despite his lower sack (nine) and QB-hit (13) totals. The Bears did end up using Mack’s contract to create cap space, restructuring it around the same time the Raiders phoned. Moving Mack before the 2023 offseason would bring forth significant dead-money charges for the Bears. On the Raiders’ end, they gave Ngakoue a two-year, $26MM deal. He will pair with Maxx Crosby and former No. 4 overall pick Clelin Ferrell, who has not lived up to that draft slot to this point.
Residing over the cap entering the weekend, the Bears made a few moves to create more than $20MM in cap space and inch under the $182.5MM salary ceiling.
Chicago will restructure the contracts of Khalil Mack, Eddie Jackson and Cody Whitehair, according to Adam Schefter, who adds these moves will create more than $23MM in cap space (Twitter link). The Bears previously had the NFL’s second-worst cap situation, residing nearly $20MM over the cap.
The Bears previously restructured Mack’s deal in 2019. He was due to count more than $26MM against Chicago’s 2021 cap. This marks the first restructure of Jackson’s five-year, $58.4MM deal. Ditto for Whitehair’s five-year, $51.3MM pact. The two combined to count just more than $20MM against Chicago’s cap this year.
The team still has work to do in the cap-space department, and the reshufflings will certainly be connected to a potential quarterback salary. In dire need at quarterback, the Bears are planning to pursue a Russell Wilson trade. Were the Bears to pull off a miraculous deal, they would need to account for by far the biggest contract in franchise history. Wilson’s $35MM-per-year accord runs through 2023.
Earlier this week, SeanDesai met with the media for the first time since being promoted to the role of defensive coordinator. While the 37-year-old will take over a defense that has ranked as a top-10 DVOA unit in each of the past three seasons, they’ve also seen some regression since peaking in 2018. However, Desai doesn’t believe the defensive needs a significant overhaul.
“I’m not a big car guy, so my analogies may not be great, but this is like a tune up,” Desai said (via the team’s website). “We’re going to refine some things and we’re going to make sure our players are playing to their strengths on a consistent basis and they’re going to buy into the system and the whys and the hows of why we’re doing certain things. But we’ve got a good defense. We’ve got really good players here.”
“There was some regression, and we’re going to overcome that,” Desai added. “But we’re going to do it in a positive way and we’re going to do it where the players are going to be able to shine through that defense. So I think we’ll build some depth and we’ll continue with our tough, physical mindset of play and do that over a 16- to 20-week season.”
Speaking of the cap, Biggs provided some cost-cutting options for the Bears. The team could move on from right tackle Bobby Massie, although that would open a spot on the offensive line. Cornerback Buster Skrine could also lose his roster spot, especially since he has a $500K roster bonus due in March. Finally, Biggs also whether the front office will be receptive to paying tight end Jimmy Graham $7MM this season.
Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic passed along a few Bears players who have increased their 2021 salaries via proven performance escalators (Twitterlinks): defensive end Bilal Nichols (from $920K to $2.183MM) and guard James Daniels ($1.437MM to $2.183MM),. Their new salaries are contingent on the final 2021 cap number.
The Bears are set to face off against the Raiders in London this weekend, which means KhalilMack will have his first chance to play against his former team. The linebacker told reporters today that he actually envisioned playing for the Raiders for his entire career.
“That’s the expectation when you get drafted to a team: You want to be there for the long haul and bring championships and all those good things,” Mack said (via ESPN.com’s Jeff Dickerson). “It’s the business side of it that doesn’t really let you do that.”
Mack spent the first four seasons of his career with Oakland, but the Raiders put him on the block when the two sides couldn’t agree to a long-term selection. The Bears swooped in and ended up signing four-time Pro Bowler to a deal that included $90MM in guaranteed money. Mack rewarded his new team by compiling 47 tackles and 12.5 sacks in 14 games.
Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…
As the NFL continues to investigate AntonioBrown for alleged sexual assault, the wide receiver still hasn’t met with the league, tweets ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler. Considering the Pro Bowl receiver is currently a free agent, Fowler notes that it’s “unclear how cooperative he plans or needs to be.” As Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com writes, it’s likely that no team would sign Brown until the NFL’s investigation is complete, meaning the wideout could be forced to cooperate if he wants to play again.
Peter King of Football Morning in America writes that the Chargers might get into the JalenRamsey sweepstakes. The writer believes adding a top defensive player would be a savvy move as the organization prepares for a new stadium in 2020. King adds that he “still think[s]” that the Chiefs and Ravens are also involved in talks with the Jaguars. We heard earlier this week that the Jaguars rejected a trade that would have netted them a pair of late first-rounders.
Yesterday, the Eaglesacquired linebacker Duke Riley and a sixth-round choice from the Falcons in exchange for safety Johnathan Cyprien and a seventh-round pick. SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan tweets that the seventh rounder is actually the Buccaneers’ selection. The Eagles originally acquired the pick in the offseason trade that brought DeSeanJackson back to Philly.
Quarterback CodyKessler signed a minimum contract with the Patriots, tweets Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. This means he’ll earn a prorated $720K salary (a bit less than $593K for the rest of the season) with no guaranteed money and a $448K “injury split.” This essentially means the Patriots can evaluate Kessler’s spot on the roster on a week-by-week basis.