ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Chicago Bears are trading All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers, with the deal expected to be finalized when NFL free agency opens on Wednesday.
Khalil Mack is being traded to the Chargers
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Chargers are sending a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Bears in exchange for Mack. Rapoport says that the deal is in place, pending a contract revision and a physical. Over the next three years, Mack is set to earn $63.9 million, which LA will take on. With Chandler Jones and Von Miller nearing the open market, it will be interesting to see how their new contracts compare.
Could the Bears trading Mack to the Chargers be a response to the Russell Wilson trade that brought him to the Denver Broncos? It just might. The AFC West is going to be one of the most competitive divisions in all of football, and this looks to be a move in response to that.
Assuming all goes well, Mack will now join Joey Bosa and will be one of the best pass-rush duos in the NFL, if not the best. But there’s more — ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports that the Chargers are expected to look for run-stuffing help at the defensive tackle and cornerback positions in free agency.
Bosa has needed a legitimate pass rusher opposite him since he entered the league as the third-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Uchenna Nwosu is a good player and a fine pass rusher, but he never truly took any pressure off the Ohio State standout.
Mack’s recent production
Mack only played in seven games in the 2021 season. However, he recorded 6 sacks, proving he has more than enough juice left to produce a threatening 1-2 punch with Bosa.
In those seven games, Mack pressured opposing quarterbacks 22 times. But what makes Mack truly special is his ability to be a three-down pass rusher. Despite seeing a dip in production in 2019 and 2020 as far as sacks are concerned, he remained near the top of most positional rankings because of his ability against the run.
To say the Chargers’ run defense was lackluster in 2021 would be an insult to lackluster entities around the world. LA’s two-high shell that tried making things difficult for opposing passing attacks couldn’t stop a cold with all the DayQuil available in the world.
Mack’s ability to stand up run blockers is nearly unmatched on the edge. In 2021, he tallied 13 stops in seven games, including 6 against Las Vegas alone.
What does the Mack trade mean for the Bears?
In 2018, the Bears sent two first-round picks, a third-rounder, and a sixth-rounder in exchange for Mack, a second-rounder, and a conditional pick that became a seventh-rounder. While they got a decent amount of production from Mack, shipping him away four years later is suboptimal.
Chicago isn’t in a position to compete in 2022. Their offensive line is a massive work in progress, and they absolutely need to find a couple of weapons to complement Darnell Mooney.
With two second-round picks, the Bears can address the receiver position and also attack the offensive line that gave Justin Fields so many issues in 2021. There is still more work to be done, but this is a move that helps both teams. Because in the end, nothing in Chicago matters if they can’t put together a roster that can mold Fields into a successful NFL QB.