Robert Quinn’s free-agent choice was down to two teams: the Bears and the Falcons.
“My agent was just relaying some messages and I really couldn’t make up my mind,” the outside linebacker said on a teleconference Friday. “So I had to do it the honest way.”
Which was, he said, a coin flip.
Seriously, a real coin flip?
“That’s kind of how it came down to the final decision,” he said. “It was still pretty tough. I mean basically that’s what it boiled down to, is a coin flip. The Bears were on the right side of it. I don’t regret it. I’ve moved on from the past.
“It’s basically how I picked my college. … I think the powers above always do things in a funny way. I think I’m going to Chicago for a reason.”
The Bears claimed afterward that, despite Quinn answering multiple questions about the coin toss — he also said “you just gotta figure out the pros and cons, talk to your agent and flip a coin” — their new edge rusher was just using a figure of speech. Either way — whether the coin exists or it was just a figurative tossup between the Bears and Falcons — general manager Ryan Pace is lucky Quinn made the decision he did.
The $30 million guaranteed on a five-year, $70 million deal helped, of course. The Bears signed the soon-to-be 30-year-old rather than bring back Leonard Floyd on a one-year, $13.2 million deal.
The reason: Floyd had 18 ½ sacks in his four-year Bears career. Quinn has 30 ½ in the same time period — and 80 ½ in his nine-year career.
“One of the first things that comes to mind as you strengthen your team is your pass rush affecting the opposing quarterback,” Pace said. “We just feel like Quinn’s a proven pass rusher. He’s got excellent edge speed. He’s got outstanding ability to bend the corner and I think we can take a position of strength on our defense. And we make it even stronger and more dangerous.”
Pace talked to defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino and the team’s scouts about how to make Quinn as comfortable as possible.
The Bears play a 3-4, a scheme Quinn has been uncomfortable with in the past. He’s played most of his career on the right-hand side as a 4-3 defensive end. He did his most damage when the Rams were ran a 4-3— the same role he had when he had 11 ½ sacks the Cowboys last year.
He should fit well with Khalil Mack on the left side — whether he’s standing up or, on passing downs, in a three-point stance.
“I think we’ve got a comfortable understanding that hopefully I get to stay on the right side …” Quinn said. “If we’ve got to flip-flop, I guess I’ve got to get more comfortable playing on the left. As I get older, I realize that you’ve got to be a little multi-talented, or be able to change.”
Quinn starred for the Cowboys last year playing opposite DeMarcus Lawrence’s double teams. The Bears want him to do the same, across from Mack, in 2020.
“He’s probably going to get the double teams or more attention,” Quinn said. “So hopefully that frees me up a little bit and I get to take advantage.”