Chicago Bears: Kwiatkoski or Trevathan? What should Bears do?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

This offseason, the Chicago Bears may have to make a big decision between two of their biggest free agents, so what should they do?

Between their cap crunch, other positions of need such as right guard, tight end, and quarterback, the Chicago Bears only have so much money to allocate to the rest of the roster. The biggest position on the defensive side of the ball is middle linebacker which is set to see both Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski become free agents.

In an ideal scenario, general manager Ryan Pace finds a way to bring both back. However, with free agency over a month away, things could change overnight. Trevathan is an experienced veteran who can be considered as the quarterback of the Bears defense.

But then there’s Kwiatkoski, a 2016 fourth-round pick who played impressively in 2019 filling in for both Trevathan and second-year linebacker Roquan Smith. Kwiatkoski may lack speed however, he’s a physical linebacker that is able to be effective when it comes to blitzing and getting after ball carriers.

In terms of production in 2019, Kwiatkoski had 68 tackles, three sacks, and three quarterback hits. During his first three seasons, he was stuck behind the depth chart but has slowly risen to become a reliable player at his position who can be relied on to fill anyone’s shoes, no matter how big.

What further complicates this situation for the Bears is that it’s hard to predict what numbers both will get when free agency opens. An early prediction is that Kwiatkoski gets a deal that pays his anywhere between six to eight million dollars a year. While Trevathan could get similar money, the Bears would truly be in a situation where they’d have to choose between either Trevathan or Kwiatkoski.

It’s also likely that Kwiatkoski has a much bigger market than Trevathan. There are a few teams around the NFC such as the Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, and Denver Broncos that could see Kwiatkoski as a future starter and decide to pay him.

Each of the four teams mentioned above have a need at middle linebacker and if they can’t get a guy like Trevathan, they may go after an ascending player in Kwiatkoski, despite some of the limitations that he has.

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Whatever happens over the next few weeks, general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy need to do whatever is best for the Bears. On one hand, resigning a younger player may be the best route to some however bringing back Trevathan also has its advantages considering he’d be a key voice on defense and in the locker room.