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Year of Uncertainty for Robert Quinn

2022 Chicago Bears Fantasy Forecast: Coming off a franchise record of 18 1/2 sacks, Robert Quinn is still young enough at 32 for big numbers but effective enough to bring a decent return in a trade.

Nothing Robert Quinn said in his only offseason Halas Hall appearance indicated he wants out of this Bears rebuild.

Then again, almost nothing he has done this offseason indicates he wants to be part of it.

Quinn has maintained about as low a profile as possible while the Bears went about demolishing remnants of the last GM/coaching era, including their 3-4 defense.

Quinn's only appearance came in April to receive the veterans Brian Piccolo Award, and then he explained his offseason absence as a personal healing/conditioning process.

"Just making sure my body is healed, making sure I'm just having myself together completely," he said. "Physically, mentally, spiritually, make sure that's all put together. Ways to get the best version of myself every day.

"This isn't my first rodeo, so I think I know how to prepare during the offseason. Just kind of go by my normal routine."

Coach Matt Eberflus has spoken with Quinn and plans to do so again when training camp starts, provided the 32-year-old pass rusher hasn't decided to hold out for a trade.

Such a move would make little sense at this age and point in his career, especailly because he is the team's highest-paid player. If he did want to be traded, holding out couldn't do much to enhance his value for the trade market but could preserve his health so some team would be getting undamaged goods.

"When Robert is here, I'll talk to him," Eberflus said. "Him and I will sit down and visit man to man and we'll go from there really."

Quinn realized coaching change would come  but was stunned when Khalil Mack got traded, leaving even his own return in question despite a franchise-record 18 1/2 sacks last year.

"First thing that popped into my head was, 'This isn't my first coaching change,' " he said. "Sucks to say but I've been through many in my career.

"The only thing I thought of was hopefully my resume or my production from last year gives me a little weight to keep my foot in the building."

So at least it sounds as if Quinn might want to be back.

Fitting into a 4-3 defense now wouldn't be a problem because he has been consistently more effective playing in a four-man base. 

Covering passes never really suited him, nor did flipping to the left side of the line. So, the Bears have tried to avoid making him do either.

The Bears now have three other younger edge rushers in Trevis Gipson, Dominique Robinson and Al-Quadin Muhammad to help take pressure off of a 30-something rusher. It's set up for Quinn to succeed, but also sets up a potential trade at some point.

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Too many factors work in favor of a deal, including the fact there is always a market for good edge rushers and competing teams who are one sack artist away from a title will come calling.

If Robinson advances quickly, it would be very easy to see the rebuilding Bears deal Quinn just before training camp ends as the Raiders did when they shipped Mack to the Bears.

Or it would be easy to see them take advantage of Quinn's skills for seven weeks or so until the trade deadline before they deal him to a needy contender.

"If something's going to happen, it's going to happen," Quinn said. "But again, it is what is what it is."

If Quinn does stay, there's nothing to indicate he'd have a season like 2020 when health and other factors combined to limit him to two sacks. When he starts at least 14 games, Quinn has never had fewer than 8 1/2 sacks.

So this offseason of rejuvenation away from the Bears can mean something for him. He has played in this type of scheme before, had 11 1/2 sacks for Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli in 2019, and missing the work shouldn't be a big problem for him.

Even if he stays through the season, the big $18.2 million cap cost for 2023 is going to make it seem unlikely he'd be back for the second year of the rebuild. The Bears would be able to afford to find another pass rusher or draft a younger one then.

So while it isn't Quinn's first rodeo, it could be his last one in Chicago and it might even be a partial rodeo.

Robert Quinn at a Glance

Vitals: 12th season, 6-foot-4, 264 pounds.

Career: 101 sacks, 359 tackles, 107 for loss, 173 quarterback hits, 32 forced fumbles.

2021: 18 1/2 sacks, 49 tackles, 17 for loss, 22 QB hits, four forced fumbles, 34 QB pressures.

2022: FanNation Projection for Quinn: 10 1/2 sacks, 34 tackles, 17 QB hits, three forced fumbles.

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