LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears edge rusher Robert Quinn said he experienced disbelief and shock when Khalil Mack, the other half of Chicago’s dominant pass rushing duo, was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers last month for a 2022 second-round pick (No. 48) and 2023 sixth-round selection.
The Mack trade was the first major move executed by new general manager Ryan Poles before the start of free agency. The Bears eventually parted ways with more than 25 players in March via expired contracts or roster cuts.
Quinn, who set the franchise’s single-season record for sacks in 2021 with 18.5, has been the subject of trade speculation this offseason after the Bears dealt his Pro Bowl teammate for draft capital while beginning a massive overhaul of the roster.
The defensive end, who turns 32 in May, faces uncertainty about his own future in Chicago, even though he remains under contract through 2024 after the Bears gave him a five-year, $70 million extension in 2020.
“The only thing I thought of was hopefully my résumé or my production from last year gives me a little weight to keep my foot in the building,” Quinn said Tuesday after being presented with the team’s Brian Piccolo Award. “At the end of the day, it’s a business. Again, you see Khalil Mack getting traded. Again, it’s just a business. Don’t dwell on it, too crazy.”
Quinn then reiterated his desire to remain with the Bears in 2022.
“I didn’t expect to go anywhere, or want to go anywhere, but again, this is a crazy business,” Quinn said.
At the NFL owners meetings last month, Poles was asked whether considering trading Quinn was an option.
“That hasn’t come up,” Poles said in March.
For now, Quinn remains with the Bears, but he’s not particularly a fan of the phrase most would use for the state of the Bears: a rebuild.
“I don’t think that’s the right way we should phrase it, because people in — the guys in the building are professionals and I think everyone carries themselves to high expectations,” Quinn said. “I believe, me personally, no player is better than me, and I believe everyone else should carry themselves the same way. So to say, ‘a rebuild’ is, I guess, a funny word. I think it’s just getting guys to believe who they truly are, and perform at their high level of expectations, because everyone’s talented enough, because they’re here. Now you’ve just got to go prove it.”
Speaking ahead of his first draft as general manager, Poles addressed the situation the Bears are currently in with a roster that only has 64 players under contract and a host of needs they hope to address with the NFL draft this week, most notably along the offensive line and at wide receiver and cornerback.
The way Poles describes it, the Bears view the state of the team as a remodeling project, not a rebuild.
“The rebuild thing is like super sensitive,” Poles said. “No, we’re constructing a very good football team. Regardless of how you use whatever term that is, we just continue to add talent. And young talent, older talent, whatever it takes to make the best team possible.
“You know, actually, late night with the wife, you’re watching TV, you get the home network where there are some rooms that are good. You might have to redo some countertops over here, some fresh paint over there. Some rooms are good. You don’t need to touch them. So that’s kind of the thought process there. That’s not a rebuild, either.”
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