Eagles bolster pass rush, acquire Robert Quinn from Bears: Grading the trade

Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman kept his trade deadline streak alive Wednesday with the acquisition of Chicago Bears pass rusher Robert Quinn in exchange for a 2023 fourth-round pick. NFL Network first reported the move.

Our Eagles writers Bo Wulf and Zach Berman react to the deal.

Wolf: Howie beat us to it. Zach and I were in the middle of writing our piece on trade targets to be published Thursday morning when the news broke. Shame on us for being too slow.

As we’ve talked about on “Birds with Friends” over the past few weeks, the pass rush always felt like the most realistic target for an impact move given Roseman’s team-building philosophies and the makeup of the roster. This doesn’t necessarily mean Roseman is done — a pass-protecting running back, depth safety or rotational defensive tackle are all still possibilities — but it feels like the big move. It’s in Roseman’s DNA to push his chips in when he senses an opportunity, and the Eagles certainly have one as the NFC favorites at 6-0.

After Derek Barnett suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 1, the Eagles have been without a reliable fourth edge rusher. Quinn is their answer to solving that problem. This means the 17.2 snaps per game (credit Zach Berman) that have gone to Tarron Jackson and Patrick Johnson over the past five weeks will mostly go to Quinn. Just as importantly, the Eagles can now back off the snaps for Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham a bit. Sweat is playing 64 percent of the snaps this season, up from 58 percent a year ago. Reddick is playing 68 percent of the snaps and Graham 43. For a team with aspirations of playing deep into January or beyond, it’s important to keep the larger picture in mind. Fewer reps now mean better reps down the road, in theory.

As for Quinn, Roseman is betting he’ll be closer to his 2021 self. Quinn finished second to TJ Watt last season with 18.5 sacks. He hit the quarterback 23 times on 377 pass-rush snaps (6.1 percent), per TruMedia. In 2022, as a 32-year-old, he has only three quarterback hits (one sack) in 159 pass-rush snaps (1.9 percent). Only two edge rushers in the league (Yetur Gross-Matos and Odafe Oweh) have a lower rate of production with as many snaps as Quinn. Obviously, Philadelphia’s personnel department believes those numbers are misleading and Quinn will be unlocked with the Eagles, where he’s less likely to be the focal point of opposing offensive game plans. After finishing 31st in the league in sack rate a season ago, the Eagles’ pass rush is up to 12th this year.

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Robert Quinn 101: Looking back at the Bears pass rusher’s career of sacks

Grade: B+. It’s hard to explain the enormous dropoff in production from the outside looking in, but it’s also hard to believe a player with 18.5 sacks a year ago could fall off the cliff so precipitously. The good news is that the Eagles are not asking him to come in and solve their pass-rush issues. As an upgrade over Jackson and Johnson, Quinn will do just fine. It makes sense as a continuation of their team-building philosophy. It’s also worth noting the reaction the trade received in the Bears’ building, with Roquan Smith becoming emotional in the aftermath of the deal. There’s a lot of guesswork that goes into midseason trades in the NFL. But there’s less of a learning curve for a pass rusher changing schemes, and it seems like the personality here is a plus rather than a question mark.

Berman: This was the ideal move for the Eagles to make. They could use help at edge rusher given the position’s importance, the rotation they use and the fact an incoming player wouldn’t displace an established contributor (see the playing time note above). It’s also a position that does not require a major transition period. And Quinn might have been the best short-term fix at the deadline. (Brian Burns and Bradley Chubb are different conversations based on age, although both would require more compensation and a significant financial commitment.)

In Quinn, the Eagles added a proven player. He’s one of only seven players in the NFL with at least 100 career sacks. They must account for the dip in production this season, but the track record is worth betting on, and edge rushers tend to age well. He’s playing 68 percent of the defensive snaps in Chicago this season. He’ll likely be used as a situational pass rusher in Philadelphia, which could be more conducive to production at this stage of his career.

Given the way the Eagles have played this season, Quinn has a chance to influence games. Philadelphia has held 14-point leads in all six games. It’s hard to maintain that pace, but it’s reasonable to expect the Eagles to play with leads in the second half. Opponents will need to pass on them. The Eagles have 10 second-half sacks this season, although they only had one in the past two games when opponents cut into their lead in the fourth quarter. Quinn should help change this number. Philadelphia has an edge-rushing quartet of Reddick, Sweat, Quinn and Graham, giving it depth and flexibility that could make a difference in big games.

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Bears trade Robert Quinn to Eagles: Why it makes sense and what’s next

The compensation (a fourth-round pick) is reasonable. He might just be a rental — Quinn has no guaranteed money left on his contract — but it’s a fair cost for a player of Quinn’s pedigree in this situation. Roseman didn’t have to dip into his pool of picks in days 1 and 2 during the next two seasons, which should be considered a plus. It leaves them short of Day 3 picks in 2023, although Roseman could find ways to make up for that during the offseason. The Eagles traded a fourth-round pick for Jay Ajayi in 2017, and viewed him as someone who could help them the following season, too. They traded a third-round pick for Golden Tate in 2018 and tried rationalizing it based on the possibility they could land a compensatory pick should he leave in free agency. There doesn’t need to be any justification for this move. It’s made to bolster an undefeated roster that’s a Super Bowl contender. This is the type of trade a contender should make, and it isn’t hard to see Quinn making a game-changing play in a pivotal moment.

Grade: A-. Considering I said on “Birds with Friends” that edge rusher should be their top priority and have touted Quinn as a player to target, it would be hypocritical of me to mark this with anything other than a good grade. The dip in Quinn’s production makes it drop from an A to A-minus, but I can’t quibble much — he might be the best realistic option at a premium position. I like this move, and Eagles fans should be encouraged that they’re taking a swing.

(Photo: Robin Alam / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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