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Bears top suitor for Khalil Mack, according to former NFL executive

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Ryan Pace is predictably mum on any developments for a move.

NFL: New York Giants at Oakland Raiders
Mack is actually pointing in the direction of Chicago in this picture, sources say.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Interest in an NFL team trading for the Raiders’ disgruntled Khalil Mack was at this point last week more a fan-driven theory than rooted in legitimate fact. After the Jets reached out with express interest to make a move for the All-Pro pass rusher on Wednesday, and the Raiders having placed Mack on the trade block on Thursday, a dream is starting to become reality.

What’s that dream for the Bears, exactly? Well, according to former Eagles’ president Joe Banner, Chicago should be thinking big with the generational pass rusher.

In an appearance on ESPN 1000 on Wednesday, the long-time executive used NFL sources he still keeps and said, the “Bears (in my mind) are on the top of the list to land Khalil Mack.”

Now, that doesn’t mean the Bears are absolutely going to swing a deal for Mack. It’s still going to be pricey, as Banner himself maintained last week it would take at least a few high draft picks to secure a trade. Multiple high level picks for a player in the last year of his contract without assurances of an extension is an immense risk.

That’s a risk Chicago could be willing to take given the precariousness of their current edge rushing situation. With Leonard Floyd nursing a few broken fingers, and unproven parts opposite and behind him, the Bears desperately need pass rush help. Mack and his career 40.5 sacks in four seasons as well as previous 2016 Defensive Player of the Award would be the best possible help they could manage. He would also immediately place the Bears in “win-now” mode whether they were fully prepared for it, or not.

For now, Bears general manager Ryan Pace has only publicly said, “we’re exploring all scenarios.” Which in Pace language, could literally mean anything and nothing at the same time. If Chicago actually did make a trade for Mack, you wouldn’t hear about it until the moment the deal was close to being finished.

The Raiders’ situation with Mack still likely sees a resolution where Mack eventually reports to team facilities in the next couple of weeks. If teams like the Bears are smart, though, they’d do well to continually monitor the developments and swoop in if need be.

Robert is an editor, writer, and producer for Windy City Gridiron, The Rock River Times, The Athletic Chicago, and other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski and contact him by email at robertpoduski@gmail.com.