The Chicago Bears had a plan this offseason.
However, general manager Ryan Pace wanted to elevate this unit from great to unstoppable.
Bears GM Ryan Pace thought he was assembling the NFL’s most dominant pass rush by bringing in Robert Quinn. It hasn’t worked out that way.https://t.co/wzm0W0HNt4
— Sun-Times Sports (@suntimes_sports) November 11, 2020
Enter Robert Quinn.
At his peak, Quinn was one of the most dominant pass rushers, finishing with at least 10 sacks in four of his nine seasons.
The Bears envisioned pairing Mack with Quinn to form one of the most tantalizing duos in the league.
They would wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks and strike fear into the hearts of offensive coordinators.
So the Bears got their man, signing Quinn to a five-year, $70 million contract this offseason.
And for one glorious game, those visions came to fruition.
In Quinn’s first game as a Bear against the New York Giants, both he and Mack took advantage of an overmatched opponent and recorded one sack apiece.
Robert Quinn has now gone 269 snaps without a sack. His only one as a Bear came on his first snap of the season in Week 2.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) November 9, 2020
However, Quinn has disappeared, failing to tally another sack since that Week 2 win over the Giants.
Quinn’s talent or production has never been a concern in the past.
In fact, he just finished with 11.5 sacks last year with the Dallas Cowboys.
But according to PFF, Quinn has only 13 total pressures on the year.
Despite ranking third on the Bears with 173 snaps rushing the quarterback, his one sack is good for just sixth on his own team.
He does have 10 quarterback hurries, but his inability to finish the play has been disappointing.
Outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino has taken some responsibility for his pass rusher lack of counting stats.
“Had a lot of opportunities to make some plays, [but] he hasn’t been able to finish,” he said. “That’s on me. It’s my responsibility to get him enough opportunities that he can close out and finish some of those plays. . . He will continue to work and hopefully get some opportunities where he can close some plays out.”
While stats rarely ever tell the whole story, it is not as if the Bears’ defense has benefited from his presence.
Though the Bears’ finished tied for 24th with 32 total sacks last year, they at least tied for 7th in generated pressure at a 25.2% clip.
Through nine games this year, they are tied for 12th in total sacks with 20 but regressed to a 19.9% pressure rate, good for 23rd in the NFL.
Whether it be through individual or team performance, Quinn has failed to live up to his lofty contract.
If there is a silver lining, it is that Quinn is just halfway through the first season of his five-year deal.
He still has plenty of time to prove his worth to this iconic franchise.
Jason Lieser of Chicago Sun noted that his contract would at least keep him on the roster for the foreseeable future.
“But he almost certainly will be here at least two seasons. The Bears would have to take a $9.3 million dead salary-cap hit to cut him after next season and a $6.2 million hit to let him go after 2022.”
Whether that is a good thing remains to be seen, though.
The Bears have significant questions marks at QB and along the OL and can not afford to pay Quinn if he continues to disappoint.
The defense is still solid, but the unit is not good enough to overcome their anemic offense.
The Bears still have an excellent chance to make the playoffs at 5-4 but will need to get a lot more out of their $70 million man if they are to make a serious run.