Bears agree to five-year, $70 million deal with pass rusher Robert Quinn: report
The Bears needed a threat to pair with Khalil Mack and landed one of the best sack artists of this era.
One issue that nagged the Bears throughout last season was their lack of an intimidating pass rush. But sacks shouldn’t be an issue anymore.
The team that already has Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks will kick it up a notch by signing former All-Pro Robert Quinn when the legal tampering period ends Wednesday. Quinn and the Bears agreed on a five-year, $70 million contract Tuesday, according to multiple media reports.
The Bears will replace former first-round pick Leonard Floyd with Quinn, and in doing so they shed a player who managed 18 sacks in four seasons in favor of a star who once put up a single-season total of 19.
Floyd, the No. 9 overall pick in 2016, had a career-low three sacks last season. The Bears announced his release hours after making the deal with Quinn. The exchange should have little impact on the Bears’ salary cap for this season, as Floyd was set to earn $13.2 million.
Quinn, who turns 30 in May, has been one of the most dominant pass rushers of this era. Only seven players have more sacks since he entered the league with the Rams in 2011. He has 80½ for his career, including 11½ in a resurgent performance for the Cowboys last season.
Like Mack, Quinn is also a turnover machine. He is fourth in the NFL with 25 forced fumbles in his career. Mack has 20 in his six seasons.
It has been a wild ride for Quinn, though.
After erupting for 40 sacks from 2012 through ’14, he played just 17 games over the next two seasons. He had 8½ sacks for the Rams in 2017 before they traded him to the Dolphins.
Beyond injuries, Quinn said he felt like he was “suffocating” with the Rams in part because they switched to a 3-4 defense, which is what the Bears play. That left him playing outside linebacker rather than defensive end.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever watched the Olympics, but I’ve never seen one of the sprinters run from a two-point stance,” he said at the time.
Quinn obviously knew the Bears run a 3-4 when he agreed to the deal, and it’s likely they’ll prioritize using him as a down lineman in passing situations. The Rams, Dolphins and Cowboys played him on 58-60 percent of their defensive snaps the last three seasons, whereas the Bears used Mack, an every-down player, 86 percent of the time last season.
Without a credible running mate for Mack last season, the Bears ranked 24th in the NFL in sacks with 32.
Offenses regularly double- and triple-teamed Mack, who had 8½ sacks — his lowest total since his rookie year. No one took advantage of all that diverted attention. Hicks missed most of last season with an elbow injury, and Floyd had a career-low three sacks.
The Bears were third in sacks the previous season with 50, and teams had trouble managing the combination of Mack and Hicks. Those two combined for 20 of those sacks (Floyd had just four), and the team hopes adding Quinn will not only rekindle that explosiveness, but expand it.