Acquiring​ Khalil Mack completes a perfect offseason for the Bears

By Thomas Gibbons

It seemed to be just another usual Saturday morning. I woke up, ate my Golden Grahams while I jumped on Twitter for the first time today. Then, I saw a tweet from Adam Schefter. “Raiders and Bears have an agreement in place to trade Khalil Mack to Chicago.” Is this fake? Nope, the blue checkmark was there next to the handle.

Ryan Pace had done it again.

“We are excited to add a special playmaker like Khalil to our football team,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. “He brings a ton on the field, but he really fits what we are building in our locker room, too. Elite defensive players in their prime are rare so when we knew we had a legit shot to acquire him, we did everything we thought necessary to get him. I’m confident the compensation to Oakland, including the return draft picks to us, and the contract extension for Khalil are fair to all parties. We are anxious to get Khalil to Chicago with his coaches and teammates.”

Coming into camp, the outside linebacker position was a concern for the Bears. Pace signed Aaron Lynch and drafted Kylie Fitts, but after releasing both Willie Young and Pernell McPhee, the position became very thin.

When Lynch went down the first day of camp with a hamstring injury, the concern grew even further. Luckily the Bears avoided disaster with Leonard Floyd, who will play Week 1 in Green Bay but with a club on his hand. Outside of these two players, the Bears had Isaiah Irving, Kylie Fitts, Kasim Edebali, Sam Acho, and Elijah Norris. Irving and Fitts have upside and the Bears voiced their praise for both players throughout the preseason, but it was not going to be enough.

Mack, 27, had failed to report to the Oakland Raiders because of a contract holdout. An elite pass rusher and a 2-time First-team All-Pro quickly became mixed up in trade rumors. It’s unfortunate for a team to want to trade their All-Pro pass rusher, but that is sometimes the business of the NFL.

The Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns, and the Buffalo Bills reportedly made strong offers for Mack according to Benjamin Allbright. It was reported a few days ago that the asking price for Mack was two first round picks. And in my opinion, trading away two firsts was a no-brainer. Here’s why: The NFL draft is exciting. Being able to draft one of the best players in college football on the first night of the draft pumps you up for football season. However, when you have a chance to trade unproven commodities (draft picks) for an already proven elite player in Mack, there should be no hesitation. Pace certainly did not have a problem with it.

Details started to emerge throughout the day on how the Mack deal went down. Pace and Mack’s agent Joel Segal worked last night and most of Saturday to finalize the record-breaking six-year contract according to Adam Schefter. The Bears and Mack agreed to a six-year, $141 million extension that includes $90 million guaranteed. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald signed the richest defensive player deal on Friday, only to be broken by Mack.

Mack, Floyd, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks, Jonathan Bullard, Roquan Smith, Danny Trevathan, Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos, Prince Amukamara, and Kyle Fuller. Scary. The Bears were a top 10 defense last season under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The potential to be one of the league’s best units is real.

It’s time. The Bears have spent a lot of money to surround Mitchell Trubisky with weapons and kept their defense intact. The hire of offensive-minded Matt Nagy, bringing back Fangio, and hiring one of the best offensive line coaches in the country in Harry Heistand, Pace spent no time messing around this offseason. Signing Allen Robinson was the first big move of the off-season for the blue and orange. Trey Burton, Taylor Gabriel, and re-signing Amukamara and Fuller followed. Then Roquan Smith, Anthony Miller, and others rounded out another strong draft from Pace and Co. The Bears are ready to compete and fans have not been this excited in a long time.

Is this the biggest trade in Chicago Bears history? The last time the Bears traded for a Pro Bowl player was Jay Cutler. The now TV reality star won just one playoff game in a Bears uniform. In 1997, the Bears traded their first-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for quarterback Rick Mirer. He would sign a three-year, $11.4 million deal with the Bears but started only three games and was released following the 1997-’98 season.

Do I sniff playoffs? If Trubisky plays to his potential and the defense continue to grow, the Bears could find themselves in the playoff picture. It starts on September 9th in Green Bay and the excitement is greater than ever. The culture has changed, the roster has changed…now it’s time for the results to change.

Mack will be introduced on Sunday afternoon at Halas Hall. Pace will speak to reporters.

Stick with WCC as we will have more coverage on Mack joining the Monsters of the Midway.

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