September 27, 2021

Could another blockbuster trade between the Bears and Raiders be in offing?

Derrick Carr-Khalil Mack reunion in Chicago suddenly not as crazy as it might sound

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font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:550; line-height:18px;"> View this post on Instagram</div></div><div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"><div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"></div></div><div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style=" background-color: #F4F4F4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"></div> <div style=" width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; 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overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;"><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B8y5kxWJNaY/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" style=" color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;" target="_blank">A post shared by Derek Carr (@derekcarrqb)</a> on <time style=" font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;" datetime="2020-02-20T16:25:01+00:00">Feb 20, 2020 at 8:25am PST</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async src="//www.instagram.com/embed.js"></script> xl left 1
comp:00005e4a4818:00000001a6:3851 4 <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Perhaps happier times suddenly on the horizon for Carr and Mack? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bears?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bears</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Raiders?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Raiders</a> <a href="https://t.co/nSrvUGrrhv">https://t.co/nSrvUGrrhv</a></p>&mdash; Arthur Arkush (@ArthurArkush) <a href="https://twitter.com/ArthurArkush/status/1230547558935793664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 20, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> xl left 9

Derek Carr and Khalil Mack are BFFs, so the latest Instagram post by the Las Vegas Raiders quarterback absolutely could be much ado about nothing.

Or it could very much be something, especially considering the known trade pipeline connecting Chicago and Vegas by way of Oakland, the Bears' current QB conundrum and the worst kept secret of the offseason — Raiders owner Mark Davis is preparing another offer that could be awfully difficult to refuse, this time to impending free agent GOAT Tom Brady, to be the handsome new face of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Here’s what we can report for sure at the moment: Carr is under contract for three more seasons and a little more than $60 million combined, but with less than $10.5 million in remaining guarantees. His 2020 cap hit is $21.5 million, or approximately $7 million more than the Bears currently have to work with. But Ryan Pace and Co. can fairly easily double their projected $14 million in current cap space by doing a few calculated cuts and/or extensions, including Prince Amukamara, Taylor Gabriel and Allen Robinson — the last of whom obviously is solely an extension candidate.

We also know that the Raiders need more speed and athleticism at linebacker, and Leonard Floyd is due $13.2 million on his fifth-year team option — which the Bears could be loathe to pay — and Chicago's fifth-year option decision on embattled Mitch Trubisky is due the first week of May. Of course, a few weeks prior is the draft, in which the Bears have only two top-100 picks — Nos. 43 (from the Raiders in the Mack deal) and their own selection at 50. The Bears also are projected to have two picks in Round 4, as well as at least one in each of the final three rounds.

Carr, in his second season in Jon Gruden’s system, just set career highs in completion percentage (70.4), yards (4,054), adjusted yards per attempt (8.0) and passer rating (100.8), while Trubisky’s numbers in each category plummeted in his second season in Matt Nagy’s system. Even so, reports have indicated since the time they first began working together that the dynamic between Gruden and Carr isn't exactly rock-solid. Also notable here: Gruden told PFW/Bears Insider prior to Trubisky's first NFL start that, "when I watched Trubisky play at North Carolina, here’s the one thing you have to know about him: He had all the quarterback skills you’re looking for.”

Meantime, the Bears said publicly on “Black Monday” that they expect Trubisky to be the 2020 starter, but also that he’ll have new company in a QB room where only he remains under contract. What hasn't been said but is widely believed: Time could be running out for Pace and most certainly for Trubisky with a playoff-caliber 'D' held back last season by one of the league's worst offenses.

And did we mention that Mack, the Bears’ most valuable asset and best player, considers Carr a brother and is coming off his own significant statistical decline in his second season under Nagy? Unlike Trubisky, the Bears are obviously married to Mack beyond next season, when Carr will be locked up at a reasonable cost for two more years while Trubisky is potentially free to hit the market.

Again, this could all be nothing. Or it could be the groundwork for Pace and Gruden readying to link up in a trade that would be a heck of a lot bigger than the one last spring that sent PK Eddy Pineiro from the Raiders to Chicago for a 2021 conditional seventh-rounder, if not the Mack blockbuster that changed the fortunes of two franchises two years ago.