Chicago Bears Robert Quinn not showing up to OTAs could be a good thing

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 09: Robert Quinn #94 of the Chicago Bears warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 9, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 09: Robert Quinn #94 of the Chicago Bears warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on January 9, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

Likely a move to force the Chicago Bears to trade him, defensive end Robert Quinn missed all of the mandatory OTA sessions. That could end up being a good thing for the team.

While the Chicago Bears are in rebuild mode, they also have some drama. Despite shipping out other high-cost veterans to reduce the salary cap, the team still has defensive end Robert Quinn on the roster.

Without having any more guaranteed money owed to him, Quinn is a great trade asset. By trading him, they save $12.9 million.

They already have the second-highest salary cap space remaining in 2022 at just over $23 million, so an additional $12 would really help if they find some players they feel could assist in the rebuild.

Additionally, at almost $98 million in cap space in 2023, they have the most money in the NFL to spend. Not having Quinn gives them over $107 million in cap space.

Quinn is 32 years old and on the tail end of his career. He’d like to compete for a championship before he retires. That won’t happen if he remains in Chicago. He feels that he and the Bears have to strike while the iron is hot.

He broke the franchise’s all-time season sacks record last year with 18.5 sacks so a contender with pass-rushing needs (I’m looking at you and your 12 draft picks, Kansas City Chiefs) could eye him.

As I mentioned, the Bears haven’t made any moves yet.

Perhaps trying to force the issue, Quinn refused to attend the mandatory OTAs late in June. His not attending is a sign that he really doesn’t want to be in Chicago for a rebuild as precious games pass late in his career.

Robert Quinn’s absence a good thing for the Chicago Bears?

While many fans would still love to see Quinn on the roster, his absence in OTAs was a good thing. Sure, missing his veteran leadership on a now young team hurts.

However, without him at practices, the coaching staff got to see more of the younger players, specifically Dominique Robinson.

Robinson was the Chicago Bears’ fifth-round pick in this year’s draft. He came from Miami (Ohio).

Robinson has played three positions. First, he played quarterback in high school before switching to wide receiver when he got to college.

After a couple of seasons, he switched again to defensive end. That means he is uber-athletic, though raw as a defensive end.

The more action Robinson sees during practice the more he’ll learn and the quicker he adjusts.

While he took a lot of the reps that Quinn would have had if he was there, Robinson impressed a lot of people. One of them is someone who understands what Robinson is going through — fellow defensive end Trevis Gipson.

Gipson was asked to make the move to pass rusher in his rookie year with the Bears in 2020. He made the transition well and now is a starting end along with Quinn. In fact, he showed how good he was last season stepping in for super pass rusher Khalil Mack.

He finished the season with 7 sacks and 5 forced fumbles. His play made general manager Ryan Poles comfortable trading Mack away. That, in turn, opened up the team’s financial flexibility.

Gipson sees a lot of him in Robinson, except he feels Robinson is even better at this point than he was.

"He’s really athletic. Dude is lean, can move, very versatile. He can rush the passer with speed and rush the passer with power, and I think that makes him a great player… I think he has a lot more pass-rush attributes than I did coming in. He has more experience on the edge than I did. I think we take the same approach to the learning game, but overall, he’s a great student, great athlete, and I think he’s going to help us a lot."

If Robinson does indeed become a good player and nabs one of the starting ends jobs in the future, it’ll give the Chicago Bears a potent combo rushing the passer. Having young, athletic, and quick pass rushers will create havoc for years to come.

Robinson not the only one getting more looks

Robinson isn’t the only one benefitting from Quinn’s absence. Al-Quadin Muhammad also got more looks. If Quinn does eventually get traded, Muhammad ends up as the starter.

As good as Robinson may be, he is still a raw project. Starting out, he could come in a rotation then, depending on how he does, he can come in on more snaps.

Muhammad is the guy who has to show that if Quinn is out, he can step in as Gipson did. He’ll be the oldest veteran on the unit without Quinn so he’ll be the leader. It helps that he worked with head coach Matt Eberflus when both were with the Indianapolis Colts.

Muhammad knows the system and can help the young guys understand what the coaches want.

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If Muhammad can show some leadership and solid play, then it makes Quinn more expendable. Quinn, however, isn’t waiting for that. He wants to go as quickly as possible.