Bears trade deadline recap: trades, draft, financials originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Bears were both buyers and sellers at the deadline – buying Chase Claypool from the Steelers to help Justin Fields, and selling Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn for draft picks to help Super Bowl contending teams.
Here are the specifics from all three trades the Bears made up until the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday:
The first move of the deadline wasn't a surprising one. It was expected the Bears would jettison Robert Quinn at some point. The question was always 'when?' We found out it would be at the trade deadline this season. Quinn, 32, doesn't have a career trajectory that matches with the Bears. He better serves a contender looking for an edge rusher in his prime. That was exactly the deal made here.
Bears receive: Eagles' 2023 fourth-round pick
Eagles receive: DE Robert Quinn
The second move was a bit of a surprise. Smith, 25, was thought of as the centerpiece for the Bears' rebuild. He's entering his prime and is indubitably one of the best linebackers and ball hawks in the game. Unfortunately, Poles explained the organization monetarily valued Smith differently than he did of himself. Complications in contract negotiation forced the team to part from their star linebacker. In return, the Bears stacked up on draft capital and depth at the position.
Bears receive: Ravens' 2023 second- and fifth-round picks, LB A.J Klein
Ravens receive: LB Roquan Smith
The last move was Poles' attempt to give Justin Fields some pass-catching help. The Bears' pass-catchers have greatly underachieved this season. Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet have been inactive and the team hardly has any talent in the position. In turn, Poles bid high on the third-year, 24-year-old receiver with the size and athleticism to become a potential high-octane receiver with Fields' big arm.
Bears receive: Chase Claypool
Steelers receive: Bears' 2023 second-round pick
The Bears came away with a plethora of ammunition to use in the upcoming NFL drafts. They have eight draft picks in the upcoming draft and every pick except their seventh-round pick in the draft after next.
Ryan Poles & Co. are betting on themselves to draft and develop players to help the future of the team. There are only three Bears players on the roster remaining from the 2017,18 and 19 NFL drafts. It's a risky play but comes with a high reward if they can churn out valuable players.
Let's take a look at the Bears' draft capital after the trade deadline.
Bears' 2023 NFL draft picks
2nd: Ravens' pick
4th: Own and Eagles' pick
5th: Own and Ravens' pick
6th: None – traded to Chargers for two 2022 seventh-round picks
Bears' 2024 NFL draft picks
7th: Traded to Patriots for N'Keal Harry
Financially, the Bears are in the most valuable position in the NFL. They will have the most financial flexibility this upcoming offseason by a landslide.
Spotrac projects the Bears will have slightly under $115 million in cap space in 2023. The next closest team, the Atlanta Falcons, will have around $68 million in cap space.
In 2023, starting with a cap total of just under $220 million, the Bears will have $90 million in active contracts. Unfortunately, they will carry around $20 million in dead cap from the Robert Quinn trade, Danny Trevathan and others. In total, they'll be $110 million in the hole, which isn't close to satisfying the $220 million cap.
The next offseason will mark the beginning of a spending spree to come over the following seasons.
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