The Chicago Bears are hoping to improve after a transition year in 2021. They struggled to find any sort of consistency throughout the season on either side of the ball, and were forced to throw rookie quarterback Justin Fields into the fire sooner than they would have liked.
2022 will hopefully be a different story. Fields has spent the offseason knowing that the starting job will be his, and the front office did a good job of clearing cap space to help them build for the future.
Whether that results in more success on the field, though, remains to be seen. There was a lot of talent that went out the door in Chicago this offseason, and that has left some pretty notable holes on the Bears roster. While their future may be in a better spot, their 2022 team may suffer as a result of these moves. Let’s take a look at two of their worst moves of the offseason, and how they could impact the Bears franchise moving forward.
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Chicago Bears worst offseason moves
2. Letting Allen Robinson leave in free agency
Allen Robinson’s tenure with the Bears never really went as planned. He suffered from poor quarterback play pretty much his entire time with the team, and rarely had any help alongside him when it came to pass-catching talent. He was long speculated to be a trade candidate out of Chicago given their struggles, but nothing ever materialized.
Instead, the Bears just decided to let Robinson walk in free agency for nothing this offseason. Once the season ended, there was really no shot he was going to be returning to Chicago; he was the top wide receiver on the market, and it was pretty clear he wasn’t too happy with how his 2021 season went with the Bears (38 REC, 410 YDS, 1 TD).
It’s OK to admit that the circumstances never worked out for Robinson in Chicago, but letting him walk in free agency was probably a mistake. You can argue that they should have remedied this issue by trading him during the 2021 season, but the Bears still had options to get some value in return for Robinson this offseason, aside from just a compensatory draft pick next offseason.
Chicago could have conceivably franchised Robinson and traded him, but they may have gotten a worse draft pick as a result. They also could have shown interest in him in free agency, and asked him to work with Fields, a promising young quarterback, in an attempt to revitalize Chicago. But instead, the Bears just gave up and let him leave. They may not have had a ton of options, but their solution to their problem with Robinson wasn’t exactly great, and this deal could potentially hurt Fields’ development in 2022.
1. Trading Khalil Mack
Trading star players in sports is only really worth it if you get a massive haul in return. The Bears return for trading Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers was certainly less than a haul, and this could be a move that the franchise regrets for quite some time.
The Bears sent Mack to the Chargers in return for a 2022 second round pick and a 2023 sixth round pick. That’s pretty awful considering Mack’s status as one of the best pass rushers in the league. The fact this is all Chicago could get in return for their best defensive player is pretty embarrassing to be quite honest.
Now I understand that the Bears were looking to clear some cap space, which was the main motivation for trading Mack here. They accomplished their goal by getting the final three years of Mack’s six year, $141 million deal off their books, which is a win from a financial perspective. But from in terms of talent and the trade itself, the Bears are very clear losers here.
Some folks believe that Mack is declining because he has failed to rack up double digit sacks over the past three seasons. It’s worth noting that Mack has played on some pretty subpar defensive lines during that time, and had he not missed more than half of the 2021 season, he almost certainly would have reached double digit sacks considering he had six sacks in just seven games for the Bears.
There are justifiable reasons for trading Mack here, but the return from the Chargers makes this easily their worst move of the offseason. It wasn’t as if they absolutely had to trade Mack, or else the Bears would no longer be a part of the NFL. They had time to try to find something that worked in their favor, but instead, they pulled the trigger on a deal in which they would undoubtedly be the loser. It’s not a great look for a Bears team trying to get better, and their 2022 squad will suffer as a result.