Free Agency has certainly been “interesting” for the Chicago Bears so far in the 2020 league year. Of course, when your team’s number one topic is the situation at quarterback, plenty of other moves will be phased out from the news cycle quickly. As we’ve seen it so far in Chicago the atmosphere has been felt from two opposite sides of the spectrum.
Go figure that a splash signing in the form of outside linebacker Robert Quinn was suddenly replaced with talk surrounding Mitchell Trubisky vs. Nick Foles for the starting job under center. Oh and I’d say this guy’s pretty good at playing football.
I, along with many others, wanted to know a lot more about this new chess piece on defense. Ironically, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix left to join the Dallas Cowboys shortly thereafter, and I decided to reach out to Tom Ryle, an Editor for Blogging The Boys. They are, naturally, the one stop shop for all Cowboys news and info on SB Nation. And I am thankful that one of their editors were willing to respond to my request fairly quickly.
We both exchanged questions and answers for our respective players. You can catch my thoughts and answers on HHCD here in Tom’s article. Now, it’s his turn to provide their input on this Bears signee.
In your own words, how would you describe the type of player Quinn is? Is he more of a pass-rush specialist, or a well-rounded presence off the edge?
He was hardly a liability against the run. Getting after the quarterback was his biggest contribution, but he also made some nice plays in the other phase of the game. It was a bit overshadowed because DeMarcus Lawrence was just a monster in run defense, but this is something that should be no problem for the Bears. He may need a few snaps off just because of mileage, but he is definitely still a three-down DE.
He’s been around the league quite a bit in the last three seasons, including three different teams in three years. What could be the reason(s), in your opinion, that he’s suddenly being moved around the league so frequently?
I think this is an excellent example of how so many coaching staffs and personnel departments in the NFL just ain’t all that. The Miami Dolphins did not appear to use him correctly and were therefore willing to part with him for a sixth round pick. He turned out to be an outstanding one-year rental for the Cowboys, leading the team in sacks by a wide margin. However, the resurgence in Dallas meant that the contract he could command on the market priced him outside of Cowboys EVP Stephen Jones’ parsimonious comfort zone. The five year deal Quinn got with Chicago is also something that Jones was not at all eager to do. Dallas is one of the best teams in the league at cap manipulation, but they have plenty of other needs to address and creative cap accounting can only go so far.
So his moving around is not a function of talent or age, but mishandling and cost considerations with his former teams, as I see it.
The Chicago Bears haven’t featured a credible duo on the edges of their defense since Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije. Do you think Quinn will find the same success he did paired with Khalil Mack that he had while being paired with DeMarcus Lawrence?
Obviously that is the plan, and it certainly looks like a chance to make the dynamic work again. There is little doubt that Lawrence’s presence opposite Quinn had a lot to do with his 11.5 sacks, as teams couldn’t double-team both. Quinn may continue to produce stats, or he may help free Mack up. Either way is a win, and you will probably have to look at the duo, not the individual players, to properly understand the impact of the signing.
Considering the money guaranteed in Quinn’s contract along with the 5-year length, does any of that come as a surprise? How would you rate the deal?
I’ll be honest, I think it is a bit too much of a commitment to a 29 year old player. The per year number doesn’t faze me as much as the length and size of the guarantee. Three years would have made a lot more sense, especially since those kinds of deals are really two year contracts with an option for the most part.
Conversely, it is not unprecedented for defensive linemen to continue to produce at a high level into their 30s. The Bears may have gambled more than I would have been comfortable with, but it is not necessarily a horrible idea. And the expected surge in the cap should make any dead money created if he doesn’t maintain his production much easier to manage.
I understand that Robert Quinn was suspended for the first two games of the season due to violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Aside from that, I have not heard of anything negative regarding Quinn. What kind of person is Quinn off-field, and do you feel he’s a fit in Chicago’s lockerroom? And, if you have a message for Bears fans, what would it be?
All indications are that he fit well in the locker room, and there were no issues at all outside the PED incident, which he still maintains was due to a prescribed medication. I will refrain from one of my rants about how inept and behind-the-times the league is on such things and just say that I don’t think there is any real problem there. Similarly, he had no issues I am aware of off the field.
I think he is going to give the Bears some good games. The only question is just how many. But outside the contract, this is an excellent signing for a team that was looking for a bookend for a standout edge rusher. If the coaches use him correctly, I think you will enjoy him when the games finally get played.
Again, I would like to thank Tom for his thoughts and time on this matter. To wrap things up we shared our mutual disdain of Roger Goodell and Tom mentioned how Quinn’s big games came as a figurative finger in Goodell’s eye — Tom’s own description — for the suspension referenced in the last question. We then discussed the idea of seeing Goodell being tossed in the pool on Draft Night in Las Vegas.
Tom suspects Jerry Jones would be one of the guys to get involved. I think it would simply be Gronk just doing Gronk things and flinging the commissioner into the man-made lake at The Bellagio in Sin City.