Bears agree to trade Khalil Mack to Chargers
The Bears have an agreement in place to trade star outside linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chargers for a second-round draft pick this year and a sixth-rounder in 2023, per NFL Network.
New Bears general manager Ryan Poles has started his rebuild.
The Bears have an agreement in place to trade star outside linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chargers for a second-round draft pick this year and a sixth-rounder in 2023. The trade cannot become official until the start of the league season next week and is contingent on Mack passing a physical.
Mack reunites with Brandon Staley, the Chargers head coach and former Bears assistant who was Mack’s position coach when they traded for him on the eve of the 2018 season.
The Bears gain draft capital as they begin to build around quarterback Justin Fields — and undo what, at the time, was considered a franchise-altering move. The Bears never won a playoff game after trading two first-round picks, among other things, to the Raiders for Mack. He made the Pro Bowl in each of his first three seasons with the team, totaling 29 sacks and missing two out of a possible 48 games.
Mack got off to an electric start last season before hurting his foot in Week 3 against the Browns. The injury never improved and he eventually opted for surgery, finishing the season with six sacks in seven games. It was the first time since his rookie season that Mack did not make the Pro Bowl.
The Bears made Mack the richest defensive player in NFL history when they gave him a six-year, $141 million contract — with $60 million guaranteed at signing and $90 million in total guarantees.
Mack was due to have a $30.15 million cap charge in 2022. Trading Mack means the Bears have to eat $24 million in dead cap — the fourth-most for any player and the most ever for someone who doesn’t play quarterback. The Bears are free and clear after 2022, though — when they figure to be more competitive than they will be this upcoming season anyway.
Moving Mack appears to be a concession from Poles that the Bears need an infusion of draft picks and young players to compete, long-term, against Aaron Rodgers — and others — in the NFC North. The second-round pick from the Chargers becomes the Bears’ second-highest pick of this year’s draft — they dealt their first-round pick in the Fields trade.
It also leaves open the possibility that Poles will look to move other Bears veterans — fellow edge rusher Robert Quinn set the franchise sacks record — between now and the draft.
Speaking last week, Poles hinted that he was looking for ways to add to his draft pick stash.
“Obviously you want a lot of picks,” he said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “But that’s just the hand we were dealt. And we’ll be open-minded on how we can create more picks.”