Chicago Bears: 3 scenarios on how to handle the NFL trade deadline

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Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

We are a little less than a month away before the 2021 NFL trade deadline. We have seen more and more trades take place throughout the season over the last few years. This has some to do with how contracts are now written that allow some of the salary to be shifted from one team to another — something that was unheard of not too long ago. Should the Chicago Bears be thinking about trades before the deadline? Well, Ryan Pace already made one just today.

The 2021 NFL trade deadline is November 2, 2021, at 4:00 p.m. EST. It will be interesting to see who may or may not be on the move — especially within the NFC North and more importantly in or out of Chicago. With the injury news that came out today (we correctly predicted after the game) about David Montgomery’s knee sprain keeping him sidelined for four to five weeks, the Bears made a corresponding move to trade for Jakeem Grant.

The move is necessary as rookie running back, Khalil Herbert will now be the RB2 on the depth chart behind Damien Williams. The Chicago Bears are not going to want to see Herbert return kicks as often, if at all, with his increased role on offense. Damien Williams also suffered a minor injury at the end of the Lions game last week and the Bears cannot afford to lose Herbert to injury on a kick return over the next few weeks.

Bringing in Grant is also an indication that the team is not happy with how Nsimba Webster has performed on punt returns the last few weeks. He hasn’t caused any major problems, but he also isn’t helping much either. Although this trade was not a blockbuster, these are the types of trades many NFL teams will be making over the next few weeks. Should the Chicago Bears be done with their moves though? Should they be looking to make more of a “splash” before the trade deadline?

Chicago Bears (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

The Chicago Bears should sell off assets if they lose the next two games

Right now, the Chicago Bears are 2-2 on the season and in second place behind the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. They have had plenty of issues this year and to find a way to be 2-2 is actually quite amazing. The problem is, they cannot beat the better teams in the NFL. Back up a bit. I do think the win over the Cincinnati Bengals was not only important but shows they have the ability to beat other middle-of-the-pack teams. Losing the way they did to the Rams and Browns tells us they can’t beat the good teams though.

Right now, the Chicago Bears are going to be starting what looks to be the toughest part of their schedule. They head out to Las Vegas versus the Raiders in Week 5. The Raiders lost last night to the Los Angeles Chargers to fall to 3-1 on the year. This is a game the Bears must find a way to win because, after this matchup, they face Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Four of the next five opponents are 3-1 on the year and the five teams have a combined 13-7 record.

Had the Chicago Bears fell to 1-3 after losing to the Lions, I would have written how the team needs to start selling off pieces as soon as possible. A win keeps the team in the conversation as the Raiders and Steelers are beatable. If the Bears can win both of those games and lose to the tougher matchups, that still puts them at 4-5 on the year and keeps them in the playoff hunt. Should they find a way to beat one of those harder teams (Bucs in 2020), then we are talking serious playoff aspirations.

The problem is, this team is likely to be around .500 once again this year. That could make the playoffs and it could not. Either way, we see all the issues they have and should the team lose to the Raiders and Packers both over the next two weeks, a 2-4 record leaves little to be excited about. Ryan Pace should start looking to sell off as many assets as possible to bring back draft capital. If he’s not willing to do so, the front office (let’s be honest, they won’t) should force him.

I am not going to go into trade details at this point (another future article), but Ryan Pace should look to move Robert Quinn whose trade value could not be higher right now with a team-leading 4.5 sacks. Allen Robinson is another easy trade option. He’s brought little to the table and is easily replaceable at this point. Akiem Hicks is dealing with a groin injury, but should he return before the trade deadline, he makes for another easy choice to move on from.

Essentially, the point here is, if the Chicago Bears falter over the next two weeks, Ryan Pace and company must start looking to rebuild through the draft. To do that, they need more draft capital after the Justin Fields and Teven Jenkins draft-day trades. Sending off some top-tier players — especially older veterans or guys who don’t have a future here (Robinson) makes logical sense.