Most people are focused on the Chicago Bears trade possibilities for the offense. That is no surprise. The unit is stuck in quicksand and can’t seem to find a way out after five weeks. With the trade deadline just over three weeks away, GM Ryan Pace may try to find some help. That doesn’t mean however that he’ll be ignoring the defense. Sure the unit is by far the more stable thus far this season, but that doesn’t mean the Bears should stop looking for chances to make it better.
One area they may want to address? Edge rusher. Khalil Mack remains a terror but he’s also proving to be the only consistent presence on the edge for Chicago. After a fast start to the season against Green Bay, Leonard Floyd has vanished. Primary backup Aaron Lynch hasn’t done much better. Combined, the two of them have accounted for three sacks on the year. Nick Williams, a reserve defensive end has four by himself. That is not going to cut it.
Both men were invisible last Sunday against Oakland. So perhaps it’s a good time for the Bears to see if they might have a shot at securing another option. Typically teams aren’t interested in giving up pass rushers. Such instances would require good timing. Like maybe a team on the cusp of firing their head coach after one of the worst defensive efforts in franchise history? Enter the Atlanta Falcons.
Chicago Bears trade seekers should include Falcons rushers
The Falcons just got done surrendering 53 points to the Houston Texans last Sunday. It was a complete meltdown and a huge reason why head coach Dan Quinn is squarely on the hot seat. At 1-4, Atlanta is teetering on the edge of losing control of their season. One more loss might convince them to start considering a significant shuffling of their roster. Two names that could be included are edge rushers Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley.
Both players have combined for two sacks this season. They haven’t been helped out by a horrific secondary but it’s clear frustration is mounting with both of them. McKinley for his health setbacks and Beasley for his ongoing disappearance after his outstanding 2016 season.
“While Beasley has managed five quarterback hits through five games, he only has 1.5 sacks. That puts him about on pace for five sacks this season, which is what he’s recorded each of the last two years.
Beasley led the league with 15.5 sacks in 2016, but since then, he only has 11.5 sacks in 35 games.
While he’s been close on several occasions to making a big negative play this year, Beasley can’t seem to close the deal. Quarterbacks find a way to elude his final rush, and it’s a big part of why Atlanta is off to a 1-4 start.”
One thing that could be argued is that both players are in a system that doesn’t fit their talents. Atlanta runs a 4-3 defense, which historically has demanded bigger athletes at defensive end. Beasley is 6’3 and under 250 lbs. McKinley is 265 but he’s 6’2, so one could argue he’s playing overweight. It’s possible a switch to outside linebacker in the Bears’ 3-4 might help them to play the way they were meant to.
So the question is would the Falcons deal them and what might it cost?
Atlanta may not be ready to unload either player just yet. At least not for another couple of weeks until they’re certain the season is a lost cause. However, presuming they can’t stop the slide then both players can’t be called untouchable. Beasley especially. He’s 27-years old and playing on the last year of his rookie contract. McKinley is only 24 but has health concerns. So it’s a question of which sort of gamble the Bears are willing to make.
Beasley would be cheaper in terms of draft compensation but may be gone after half a season as a free agent. McKinley would likely cost more but has greater upside and long-term security with his contract. Neither is a sure thing to work out but that’s part of the risk. The Bears defense certainly wouldn’t get less good with them in the fold.