Chicago Bears: Would an 8-8 record be deemed a successful season?

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears made headlines recently by acquiring the 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Khalil Mack. Here’s why their season outlook has changed drastically as a result.

When the Chicago Bears pulled off the blockbuster trade on Saturday, acquiring outside linebacker Khalil Mack from the Oakland Raiders in exchange for future first-round draft picks, their expectations for this season no longer involve rebuilding. After all, they’ve already gone through that process over the last three seasons under former head coach, John Fox.

Heading into Sunday night’s Week One match-up against the Green Bay Packers, the Bears should now be expected to compete for a playoff spot. While winning their division this season is an extremely tall task, there should be no more excuses for not at least being a wild-card contender.

While the Bears have a rookie head coach in Matt Nagy, the talent up and down the Bears’ roster is very impressive. The defense ranked in the top 10 last season in points-per-game allowed, and it is expected that this unit will only get better now with the arrivals of Mack and rookie linebacker, Roquan Smith.

The offense has gone through an extreme makeover during the offseason. Besides implementing a new offensive system that doesn’t involve running the ball nine times out of ten plays, the Bears have even more impact players that will help make Mitch Trubisky‘s life easier. Tight-end Trey Burton, rookie wide-out Anthony Miller, and a healthy Kevin White should make the offense very explosive and fun to watch.

Adding all these additions up, the Bears look worthy of making a serious playoff run, barring unexpected injuries. General Manager Ryan Pace doesn’t trade for Mack just to go through another losing season. This move was made to send a clear message to the entire organization that anything short of a winning record this season will be a disappointment.

Just like the Los Angeles Rams did a season ago, the Bears can follow suit by going from a last-place team all the way to being a playoff team. If the Bears finish 8-8, that should be considered a disappointment for all Bears fans. There are no more little milestone victories now for the organization. Those “almost wins” don’t count anymore as being stepping stones for future success. That’s all been erased since the John Fox era ended this offseason.

Related Story. Chicago Bears: 3 reasons Detroit Lions fans have no basis for chatter. light

The Bears simply sped up their timetable to be serious Super Bowl contenders with the addition of Khalil Mack. If Trubisky doesn’t make dramatic improvements this season, Pace will be running in hot water.

He gambled on the second-year quarterback, betting the entire franchise on Trubisky’s ascension into becoming a high-caliber quarterback for years to come. Growing pains should be a thing of the past for him.

If the Bears do finish short of a winning record this season, it’ll either be due to injuries to key players, or another struggling campaign by Trubisky. Possibly both.

But given what we’ve heard from both the coaching staff and front office this offseason, expecting those outcomes to occur would be foolish until proven otherwise. There’s just too much talent on the roster now for the Bears to fall short of a winning season.