Why trading Quinn was ‘extremely hard' for Ryan Poles


Robert Quinn is exactly the type of player the Bears wanted on their roster when Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus began reshaping the team. He plays with a high motor on every snap, he’s a reliable veteran who could show young players the ropes, and he’s a really good guy. A really, really good guy. So Poles was earnest when he said it was “extremely hard” to make the decision to trade him to the Eagles in exchange for a fourth-round pick in next year’s draft.

“These decisions, they’re really, really tough because it’s not a transaction, it’s deeper than that,” Poles said.

“There’s the emotional side, the human part of it that you know you’re affecting not only a man but his family. You’re kind of shaking that all up and I don’t take that lightly at all and I’m sensitive to that.”

There’s also the consideration of the effect a trade like this could have on the locker room. Quinn was a captain, and one of the most respected players in the locker room. Quinn is not the most vocal leader, but his 12-year, 100+ sack career did the talking for him. He led by example, and young pass rushers learned a lot from him.

Roquan Smith was addressing the media when news of the trade broke, and when asked about it Smith started tearing up. He wasn’t able to compose himself and had to end his press conference early. The Bears had been feeling great about themselves following their huge upset against the Patriots on Monday Night Football. The Quinn trade could be felt as a sobering reality check.

“You know that you’re tweaking the fibers of your locker room, and that’s a big deal too,” said Poles. “It sucks to mess with that, to be completely honest with you.”

In the end, Poles couldn’t let emotions get in the way of making a move to help the team. By the time the Bears are ready to seriously compete in the postseason, Quinn wouldn’t have been in their plans, regardless of how well he might’ve played for the rest of this season. Poles is trying to build a roster that can succeed for an extended period of time, and he’s said before that the best way to do that is through the draft.

“On the business side, it just made too much sense for what we’re trying to do.”

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