Emma: Mack A Defining Addition For Bears

September 01, 2018 - 12:22 pm
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(670 The Score) After a franchise-altering Saturday morning, the Bears that we have come to know in the last three seasons are no more.

No longer can they be considered a rebuilding team with simply enough talent to just be competitive. The Bears are now well-positioned to contend for the NFC North crown and the playoffs this season and in the years to come.

Chicago has reached a deal to acquire Khalil Mack, perhaps the game's top pass rusher, from the Oakland Raiders in exchange for two first-round picks, according to reports. The deal is official, bring the Bears a 27-year-old perennial Pro Bowl talent in Mack who can help elevate what was a top-10 defense last season.

Beyond that, the Bears have added a premier difference-making talent to their defense within the rookie contract of 24-year-old quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, whose affordability entering his second season allowed general manager Ryan Pace the opportunity to make his latest bold move.

Trading away two first-round picks is a steep price but also the cost of business for an addition like Mack, who despite his 40.5 sacks over the last four seasons couldn't get the long-term deal he desired from the Raiders. The Bears are reportedly set to begin negotiations for Mack as early as Saturday, once the trade becomes official.

Credit goes to Pace for pulling off the deal and also to chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips for realizing the impact of Mack and what he could mean for the Bears. They all understood that adding a player of Mack's caliber changes the dynamic around Halas Hall, where winning now becomes an immediate goal.

This all came to fruition after the Los Angeles Rams recently rewarded defensive lineman Aaron Donald with a six-year, $135-million deal, a record-breaking contract for a defensive player. The Raiders weren't positioned well financially to give Mack such a deal and began seriously entertaining offers Friday night.

The Bears were well-positioned to land Mack because of their salary cap situation surrounding Trubisky's rookie contract and flexibility elsewhere on the roster. Mack will surely receive the largest contract in Bears history with a deal similar to Donald's, if not greater.

Mack should have a transformative effect on those around him, as he'll command attention in a manner that allows the likes of Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman and Leonard Floyd to have more freedom to operate. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can make calls with more confidence, knowing Mack can get after the quarterback the way his rushers couldn't the last three years. The Bears finally have the star-caliber player they've been missing on defense.

Mack means so much to the Bears, now a team positioned well to move forward from times of futility and back toward contention for a championship.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.