No Trade Deadline Dreams for Bears Fans After Khalil Mack Deal

Gene Chamberlain

In recent years, the NFL trade market has heated up just prior to the late October deadline.

That is to say, instead of one or two trades made, there were three or four.

No one will go wild in pro football just prior to the trade deadline because the value for most teams of acquiring players at this point is prohibitive.

By the time the guy comes in and learns the position within the offense or defense, it's Week 13 or 14 and if you're vying for a playoff spot you might be out of it by that point if you've waited for the trade acquisition to catch up.

There are other reasons.

People are less likely to take draft picks then because they can't be sure where the pick will fall, and there are any number of other reasons.

It's not baseball or basketball where one player can usually make a huge difference, although it did happen for the Bears a couple months before the deadline when they managed to land Khalil Mack.

Most trades cost teams their future in draft picks and they never realize the success they hoped for in making the deal.

The Bears have never been known to rush into moves before the deadline, which is Oct. 29 at 3 p.m. this season.

However, there are a few players who might come available who could be of help to a team trying to get back to the playoffs or beyond.

Big names like tackle Trent Williams, Jalen Ramsey and Melvin Gordon get tossed around in trade market talk and the Bears could never get involved in such discussion because they simply don't have the top draft picks required to make a trade. The Redskins don't want Adam Shaheen and Kerrith Whyte for Trent Williams. They don't want a second-round draft pick for him.

There are other factors involved, as well. Are the Vikings trading Stefon Diggs to the Bears or the Packers? And face him twice a year? Right. Yes, if GM Rick Spielman wants to go on unemployment.

However, there are some other players who might be lower-ticket items and might be available for less because of excessive depth on their current team. These players wouldn't mean mortgaging the entire future.

In other words, you're shopping in the bargain basement or the damaged goods bin. In most cases with this list, the Bears would just be better off keeping the draft picks and not worrying about these players because what they have already isn't much worse or is even actually better.

Tight Ends

Cameron Brate : They'd be bringing home a Chicago area guy. Brate is a Naperville Central alum. He signed a lengthy deal and now Tampa Bay really doesn't need him. They might want to just keep him, but eventually they'll want his salary off the books to use it for defense. They have O.J. Howard at tight end and run an offense only occasionally using two-tight end packages. They're wide receiver-based. But Brate has a good history as a receiver and blocker. His contract was front loaded and after this season he has no dead-cap space for the Buccaneers to eat. His $4 million salary for next year is guaranteed, but not until the fifth day of the 2020 NFL calendar in March. So a good situation would be for the Bucs to deal him now for a draft pick if they wanted to trade him at all. The thing is, the Bears think they have a potential Brate in Jesper Horsted on the practice squad. But he isn't a blocker and has no experience right now.

Tyler Eifert : Always an injury concern, Eifert is healthy now and has 13 receptions, which is two more than Burton. The Patriots are rumored to want Eifert, and if so the Bears would have no shot. The Patriots have tons of draft picks to trade. Eifert also was retained with only a $3.025 million, one-year deal. He's a free agent next year. So the Bengals may be willing to part ways after their horrendous start. The asking price would definitely be higher than if a team tried signing him next spring. But Eifert is 30 now and the drawback could be his age and injury history. 

Charles Clay: A veteran of nine seasons who has caught as many as 66 passes in a season, Clay is a free agent after this year and stayed on with the Cardinals at about $2 million for one year. If the groin problem continues to be a nagging one for Burton, then Clay could be a comparable receiver alternative. But he's not much as a blocker. The Bears have to ask themselves before looking at any tight ends whether it's worthwhile to spend even more on a position where they've already spent more cap space than all but two other teams.

Offensive linemen

Halapoulivaati Vaitai : He's part of the big cache of offensive linemen the Eagles have. Maybe being in the same conference, they wouldn't want to deal with the Bears. However, they've definitely done it in the past. Vaitai is a very versatile player who is a guard and tackle and does it at a high level. He'd be a starter on many teams. He could solve any problems they have with the Charles Leno/Kyle Long struggles. The best part for the Bears is he's a free agent next year and still on his rookie contract, so the Eagles might be willing to move him. Also to be considered is the Bears play the Eagles right after the trade deadline. Would Philly want to send a player the Bears' way who could provide some valuable information, although it's unlikely he'd be able to play against them due to lack of prep time.

Seantrel Henderson : Houston's backup tackle is a free agent after this season and would be a low-budget way to add depth on the offensive line or even light a fire under Leno. He started for two seasons initially but lost that job and has been a backup four seasons. He was a seventh-round pick, like Leno, and really would add nothing.

Nick Easton : This backup Saints center was a starter two years with the Minnesota Vikings and has a contract that makes him available to be traded if the Saints want to eat about $2 million in dead cap space. So they'd have to have something in return to make their dining worthwhile. But they have more than enough depth at the interior of their line and Easton hasn't started this year after starting 12 games for Minnesota in 2012. Why would the Bears want another center after drafting James Daniels? They could start Easton and move Daniels to Long's guard spot. But if Easton couldn't start in Minnesota or New Orleans, why would the Bears want to make him a starter? My apologies for using logic.


Genard Avery:  The Bears could use another backup outside pass rusher. Avery isn't ideal size at 6-foot and 250, but was highly thought of once and hasn't panned out. He would definitely seem to fit into the Bears' edge situation better at his size than as a 4-3 end with his hand in the dirt. Aaron Lynch has one sack and only three tackles despite playing 93 snaps as Mack's backup. The other backup, Isaiah Irvin, hasn't had a sack and has five tackles despite playing 63 snaps. The Browns would have to eat only about $216,000 of dead cap space by letting go of Avery. But his talent is so marginal he may not even be worth pursuing.