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Deep Dive on Bears' New Edge Rusher Robert Quinn

The Bears started the offseason in a terrible way but made up for it with the Robert Quinn signing.
Photo: Paul Sancya/AP

Photo: Paul Sancya/AP

Bears fans were distraught yesterday when they found out Ryan Pace's first move in free agency was signing Jimmy Graham. Bears Twitter was losing its collective mind, but after the recent news of Robert Quinn coming to Chicago, everyone seems to be feeling a little better.

It's now known that Quinn's contract is a five-year, $70 million deal with $30 million guaranteed. Although the exact structure of the deal has not been specified, the yearly average is $14 million. This is only a fraction more than Leonard Floyd's fifth-year option, so the deal becomes a wash. Depending on the structure, the Bears could finish paying most of his guaranteed money in year two or three, giving them a potential out. More significantly, if Quinn balls out over the next two years and most of his guaranteed money is up, the Bears could also be dealing with a potential hold-out situation. For now, just enjoy it, because it's a clear upgrade at edge going from Floyd to Quinn.

Photo: Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

Photo: Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

I was one of the people that wasn't upset by Floyd's play. He's not a bust; he's a capable starter in the NFL. It's also fair to acknowledge that Floyd isn't a double-digit sack guy and his skill set wouldn't have warranted a high contract. There were talks about the Bears renegotiating Floyd's contract to make it more cap-friendly, but they saw the opportunity to grab Quinn and made their move. My question is, why wasn't Floyd traded for any draft capital? Pace must have been shopping Floyd, and no one even offered a seventh-rounder? Did teams know the Bears were in the market for an edge rusher and would be forced to drop Floyd before the new league year? These are all questions that probably won't ever be answered, but the deal is done and the Bears should be a better team for it.

Knowing that the Cowboys primarily run a 4-3 and the Bears are a 3-4 defense, it begs the question, how will Quinn fit?

After watching some tape, I noticed Quinn was used in a very specific way. He lines up a full body outside of the offensive tackle, regardless of any tight end presence. Even in a nickel defense, he aligns in a similar spot, maybe tighter to the tackle's outside shoulder at most.

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Last year, Khalil Mack was questioned on why his alignment had been further off-tackle than in 2018, and we found out this was part of Chuck Pagano's influence. It's possible Pagano will move Mack to Floyd's old spot, giving him more favorable matchups. It makes sense, but does that mean Mack will also drop into coverage similar to Floyd in years previous? That's all up in the air, but I'd like to assume they will adjust the defense accordingly to accommodate everyone's skill sets.

It's reasonable to expect to see Quinn in more two-point stances than he played in Dallas, but in general, Quinn won't be the ideal coverage guy very often. He is 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, which is a much different build than that of Leonard Floyd. This doesn't mean he Pagano won't use Quinn in a different way, as Pagano is known to use players in a multitude of ways. This is just what I noticed on tape, and after diving into his 2019 season, you understand why he earned a sizable contract.

There is audio to go along with the tweet, but the three plays above show what Quinn can bring to the table. In the first play, Quinn demonstrates his athleticism and football IQ. He recognizes run instantly and presses the line of scrimmage while he chases down Kenyan Drake for minimal gain.

The second clip highlights his ability to recover and get to his second pass-rushing move. He gets ran around the pocket, but he notices Sam Darnold step up in the pocket. He recognizes it and uses a spin move to get himself back in the play and finishes it with a sack.

The third play showcases his toughness, his ability to hold his spot, and his persistence in fighting through double teams. You see him anchor his base and hold his ground, eventually splitting the double team and making the play.

Robert Quinn is young considering he is entering his tenth season. The 29-year-old doesn't show any signs of slowing down and had a resurgent 2019 season in which he recorded 11.5 sacks. He's been fairly healthy for most of his career, only missing significant time over the 2015 and 2016 seasons. When he is healthy, his worst stats are comparable to Leonard Floyd's best. Pairing him with DeMarcus Lawrence helped him produce similar numbers to his Pro Bowl season in 2014 when he was paired with Chris Long in St. Louis.

One thing to monitor is how the Bears use him and if they adjust the defense to his skill set. He has proven to be an extremely productive player when the situation is right. One would like to think pairing him with Mack would help him produce at an even higher level and give him an opportunity to be the sack leader on the defense. With Mack and Quinn, there is a clear Batman and Robin dynamic, but sometimes Robin saves the day.