With the Chicago Bears deciding to move on from their Pro Bowl edge rusher Khalil Mack, who was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday for a 2022 second-round and 2023 sixth-round draft pick, many Bears fans are looking back at his time in Chicago.
🚨 KHALIL MACK IS A CHARGER 🚨
Who won the trade? pic.twitter.com/yzosMF3Rfx
— PFF (@PFF) March 10, 2022
Getting Mack from the Las Vegas Raiders came at a hefty price, with the Raiders getting two first-round picks, a third-round pick, and a sixth-round pick for Mack in the 2018 deal the Bears made with them.
When the announcement of the deal was made, Bears fans were celebrating the move, which would help the Bears win the NFC North title that year, marking the first time in eight years that the Bears were able to accomplish this feat.
The 2018 season for Mack with the Bears was good for him and the team, as he went on to record 12.5 sacks, 47 combined tackles, one interception returned for a touchdown, and six forced fumbles.
📅 Sept. 1, 2018:
Raiders trade Khalil Mack and two 2020 draft picks to the Bears for two 2019 picks and two 2020 picks.pic.twitter.com/Di8JZ0tUpt
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 (@sportingnews) September 29, 2019
While Mack’s first year in Chicago wasn’t flawless, he would only start 13 of 16 games due to an injury; he brought an energy to Chicago’s defense that made them one of the best in the NFL for 2018.
In the First Round Of The 2019 Draft, The Bears Select Khalil Mack
The 2019 draft saw the first of two drafts that the Bears would be without a first-round pick due to the Mack trade.
GM Ryan Pace’s First Round Draft Picks During Tenure as Chicago’s GM:
— Brandon Franco. (@FrankGrizzly) March 22, 2021
The Raiders took running back Josh Jacobs with the Bears’ first-round, 24th overall pick.
While the Bears focused on defense with the Mack trade, their offense went neglected, hurting the team in Mack’s second year with the Bears.
Mack’s second year saw him record only 8.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and 47 combined tackles, signaling a downward trend for him.
While the stats look bad compared to the previous year, some of this is due to other defensive stars on the Bears team being injured, leaving offensive linemen with the ability to double team Mack to keep him from the quarterback.
Year Three With The Bears
The 2020 season saw an 8-8 Bears team barely sneak into the playoffs as a Wild Card team.
Mack’s struggles on defense continued as he only had nine sacks, one interception, three forced fumbles, and 50 combined tackles.
Mack was no longer putting up 70+ combined tackles a year or hitting his season-high 15 sacks as he did with the Raiders.
The aging edge rusher showed signs of decline, which had some Bears fans talking about trading him away before his value crashed.
A Season-Ending Injury Ends Mack’s Legacy With Bears
After only playing seven games in the 2021 season, Mack was forced to undergo season-ending foot surgery.
Mack had already been dealing with issues with his foot in prior years with the Bears, but 2021 was the year that he couldn’t keep playing through the pain.
While he suffered the injury in Week 3 of the season, Mack played four more games after that, potentially causing more damage to his foot.
While Mack brought energy and fear to teams making the Bears’ 2018 defense one that most teams wanted to avoid, his 2021 injury will be the black cloud over his final days in Chicago, marring the success he did have with the team.