This is an awkward full circle moment with the Khalil Mack business. I remember that fateful morning in 2018 when I woke up to the news – sleep still in my eyes – that Bear had been traded for Mac. I groaned and ran around my house—like a small child—as if it was Christmas morning and I just got the gift I was begging for. Fast forward four years, and the news that Mack was being traded to the Chargers happened a few hours before bed and there was no excitement involved. It was hard to get mad in business because it was the right thing to do. But that didn’t make it any less sad. In many ways, it felt like we’d officially put a magical 2018 season behind us. It feels like a distant memory at this point.
I have to pass it on to new GM Ryan Poles. He knew exactly what he wanted to do with this roster, and I’m sure the first we saw were several steps along the way. Whether it’s chopping off some expensive heavyweights like Eddie Goldman and Danny Trevathan or possibly trading Robert Quinn, whose trading value just won’t exceed that. At this point, the Poles are building for the future. The Bears aren’t going to struggle in 2022, but things are setting up for some big moves in 2023. Considering the Bears faced two first-round challenges in exchange for Mack, you might want to look at the more compensated side of things. But the fact that the Chargers are taking the entirety of Mack’s remaining contract is huge. Certainly, Chicago has to eat into a $24 million dead cap in 2022. But it also clears $28.5 million for 2023, which will allow Poles to be the next big free agency.
All in all, it’s a sad day for Bears fans as the Mac trade marks the official end of what we all believed to be an exciting era of Bears football. But it also shows that the Poles are going to do whatever they want with them to build the winning roster, whether or not to hurt sentiments, and that he is looking to the future by cutting bad contracts.