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Brian Urlacher Not Sold on Big Contract for Robert Quinn

Analysis: Hall of fame Bears linebacker criticized the Bears for the $70 million/5-year signing of pass rusher Robert Quinn when there were plenty of cheaper players around—who were far less productive

Sometimes criticism is valid and sometimes you get what Brian Urlacher did Thursday on the Waddle and Silvy show on ESPN 1000.

You put your foot in your mouth. 

The Hall of Famer said he thought Bears GM Ryan Pace shouldn't have signed pass rusher Robert Quinn and should have signed someone for less, presumably to use the rest of the money for something else.  

Maybe he meant it to be spent toward a better cornerback in free agency than Artie Burns or a better safety than Jordan Lucas or a better guard than Germain Ifedi. Or maybe it was for another wide receiver.  

Urlacher might not realize it but Quinn was the cream of the crop among pass rushers at that point other than Jadeveon Clowney, who is still unsigned and operating under the assumption he is worth more than any player in history because he averages 5.3 sacks a year. 

Although Quinn's deal averages $14 million a year, the $3 to $5 million Pace could have saved looking elsewhere for someone would have netted a much less productive player or an old player.  There is no question of this.

Perhaps Cameron Wake or Clay Matthews or Terrell Suggs? 

You can see them on ESPN classics channel now.

The Bears were looking for a starter on that side because they cut Leonard Floyd rather than give him $13 million. Really, some of the players who were out there didn't fit the defense or were shaky. 

Mario Addison got a deal averaging slightly more than Floyd at $10.15 million for four years, but he never had more than 6 1/2 sacks in his career until he turned 29, has had 39 sacks the last four years, and is 33 years old. 

Jamie Collins got $10 million from the Patriots but isn't even the edge rusher type. He's had 24 1/2 career sacks in seven years. 

One name tossed out constantly on social media and NFL websites was Shaq Lawson, but the former Bills' rusher was even less productive than Floyd, with 16 1/2 sacks  in four years to Floyd's 18 1/2. And Lawson got a deal averaging as much as Floyd's. 

Dante Fowler had 11 1/2 sacks last year and received a deal averaging $10 million with Atlanta to leave the Rams and be Vic Beasley's replacement. Fowler, the former Jaguar, averages 6.8 sacks a year.  

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Beasley was another player out there and he got less than Floyd at $9.5 million for only one year. He averages 7.4 sacks for five years. If he was as good a choice as Quinn, he wouldn't have had to sign for one year.  

Unlike with many others in the market, the production has been there with Quinn, who averages 8.9 sacks a year over nine seasons and will turn 30 this offseason. Quinn also plays the run well. He made 13 tackles for loss last year and averages 10 a year.  

So Quinn was far and away the highest quality for the extra money they paid. And it must be remembered the deal wasn't necessarily long term. It's only costing $6.2 million this year against the cap and the out is for $30 million over two years.

About the next best quality they could have had for something in the $10 million range would have been none other than Floyd himself, an all-around performer but not enough of a closer in the pass rush. 

Now the Bears have a closer on each edge and a force in the middle in Akiem Hicks.  

Urlacher also said he felt like with all the money they pay Khalil Mack, they didn't need another good pass rusher on the other side. 

So if keeping a mediocre player on the other side was the goal, perhaps they just should have kept Floyd for $13 million.

Urlacher questioning whether the Bears should have paid so much for such a high quality pass rusher just makes so little sense in every way.

It's like if Jerry Angelo came to Urlacher in 2008 when the hall of famer was signing a five-year, $43 million contract extension and said the team would be better off paying a little less by signing Jonathan Vilma in free agency. The cash saved could be spent elsewhere.  

If talent is there and you can get it, then you get it. 

No one criticized the Broncos for drafting Bradley Chubb because they already had Von Miller.  

Pace got criticized for signing tight end Jimmy Graham because he was too old and expensive. Now he signs a pass rusher who is still in his prime and expensive, and still gets criticized. 

Apparently the only way Pace will be able to please everyone is to sign someone young and cheaper and not as good.  

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven