Only five players were guaranteed more money in free agency than Robert Quinn, whose five-year, $70 million deal with the Bears includes $30 million guaranteed. Somehow, general manager Ryan Pace and cap guru Joey Laine managed to land one of the biggest free agents of 2020 despite not having a ton of money to spend.
But why Quinn and not a cornerback, safety, right guard, tight end or quarterback? The Bears entered free agency with true, glaring needs at those five positions. So it was not only surprising that the Bears landed a big fish, but also that it was Quinn.
Meanwhile, Ryan Pace went bargain shopping with Artie Burns and Tre Roberson at cornerback, and Deon Bush/DeAndre Houston-Carson/Jordan Lucas at safety. See also: Germain Ifedi at right guard. Nick Foles and Jimmy Graham weren’t cheap, but also weren’t Teddy Bridgewater or Austin Hooper.
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But looking at how free agency played out, the Bears’ call to go with Quinn (and jettison Leonard Floyd) does make sense.
“We just feel like Quinn’s a proven pass rusher,” Pace said. “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 when you add Quinn and you combine him with the players that are already up there, especially up front.”
The Bears’ 2020 defense feels like a bet on an elite pass rush covering for some potential deficiencies in the secondary. Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller are still there, but can a battle between Kevin Toliver II/Burns/Roberson/TBD draft pick produce a true starting-caliber corner? Or can Bush slide into a starting role next to Jackson after spending the last three seasons almost exclusively as a backup?
It’d be ideal for the Bears if the answers to those questions were yes. But what if opposing quarterbacks don’t consistently have enough time to throw because Mack, Quinn, Hicks, Roy Robertson-Harris, etc. are wrecking things in the pocket?
There’s certainly a thought in some NFL circles that great coverage is preferable to a great pass rush — it’s worked well for the New England Patriots, after all — but it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. Not every team gets to have an in-his-prime Khalil Mack. The Bears do. Signing Quinn to help maximize Mack’s impact makes a lot of sense.
The money makes sense, too. Quinn is guaranteed $30 million, sure, but his $6.1 million cap hit in 2020 ranks 32nd among this year’s free agent signings. That’s really how the Bears made this work — big-ticket cornerbacks James Bradberry and Byron Jones are in the top five of 2020 free agent cap hits, while Bridgewater’s $14 million bargain is more than double Quinn’s cost.
So all those factors led the Bears to Quinn. This feels like the right kind of signing, one that’ll help give the Bears a top-five defense — even if there may still be some holes in the back end of it. Floyd wasn't cutting it, despite his run-stuffing and coverage skills. The Bears needed to make their pass rush better, and did with signing Quinn.
Good thing that coin flip (metaphorical or not) wound up on the Bears’ side of things.
“It's always been a defensive kind of team what was always presented to me about the city,” Quinn said. “So that was always an exciting thing going into a town like that where they love to see defense. Points of 0 versus 100, you know. So that's always exciting, plus the talent they already have there. Who can't get excited to join up with guys like Mack, Fuller, (Akiem) Hicks, (Eddie) Goldman, (Danny) Trevathan?”
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As the NFL prepares to celebrate the arrival of hundreds of new prospects during the upcoming draft, the league is sensitive to the possibility that those celebrations can be marred by the emergence of past tweets that reflect poorly on a given player and, in turn, on the league.
Per a league source, the NFL therefore has advised agents to “proactively scrub” negative tweets from prospect accounts, to ensure that none of these messages surface “during this critical time.”
It’s something the prospects and the agents should have done anyway, and there have been plenty of past examples regarding the consequences of a failure to do so. The league apparently has gotten involved because it plans to highlight old tweets in a positive way during the draft. Once that door swings open, the league doesn’t want any of the old tweets that reflect on the player in a negative way to emerge.
The league also has provided specific instructions to agents on the procedure for harvesting old tweets, reviewing them, and getting rid of any that may cause problems.
The message from league is simple: During this time in the player’s life, the press should be only positive. So, basically, go ahead and remove anything that may cause negative press for the players.
Again, the agents already should be doing this. The league doesn’t want the negative press attached to a drafted player splashing onto the league and the team that selected him, too.
NFL encourages prospects’ agents to “proactively scrub” old tweets originally appeared on Pro Football Talk
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing leagues to think outside the box while going about their business, the NFL has decided to really switch it up for the 2020 NFL Draft.
It was announced earlier this week that the selection process and show would officially be virtual this year instead of on the Las Vegas Strip. And on Wednesday it was reported the league will now use it as a fundraiser, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The three-day “Draft-A-Thon” will raise funds for six different foundations that are battling the spread of COVID-19 and assisting those affected by the virus, Schefter tweeted. The charities will be selected by the NFL Foundation.
See a list of the charities benefitting below:
The 2020 NFL Draft will serve as a three-day virtual fundraiser benefitting six charities – selected by the NFL Foundation – that are battling the spread of COVID-19 and delivering relief to millions in need. Here are the six charities that the "Draft-A-Thon" will benefit: pic.twitter.com/NABRtD8YNV
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 8, 2020
The NFL Draft will begin events on April 23.
Props to the NFL for turning a negative into a positive.More NFL: Could League Add Three Rounds To Draft Due To Coronavirus Limitations?
Thumbnail photo via Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images