No longer can they be considered a rebuilding team with simply enough talent to just be competitive.
The Chicago Bears made a huge move on Saturday, agreeing to a trade for Oakland Raiders pass rusher Khalil Mack.
Now, as is the nature of the beast in the National Football League, the roster is incredibly subject to change, but with that caveat, let's take a look at five observations from the team's first 53. Mack, who is entering the final year of his current contract, has sat out all preseason looking for a new contract and appears to have gotten one with the Bears. Gruden had better use the cap room wisely. The last time they had something nice, Brian Urlacher, management chased him out-of-town, ended his career and it took five years to smooth over all the hard feelings.
Pittsburgh could have packaged two first-round picks and linebacker Bud Dupree for Mack and matched something similar to what is being reported about the trade.
This is a critical move for the Denver Broncos, make no mistake about it.More news: Stryker to buy K2M Group Holdings for about $1.4 billion
Today may as well be a holiday in Chicago and Bears fans across the world are undoubtedly celebrating the addition of one of the league's best players. While it will still be tough for Chicago to pass the Packers or Vikings in the NFC North this year, the bar has been raised with one blockbuster trade.
Mack was the Raiders' version of Von Miller, J.J. Watt, or Aaron Donald.
Mack will be an outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio's defense, which ranked 10th previous year in yards allowed and ninth in points. The Raiders kept six of them. They hoped someone on their roster would emerge over the summer, but no one did.
Not only did he haul in eight catches for 128 yards and three touchdowns, but his work on special teams was excellent too, and truthfully, that probably played into the thinking of keeping him around. The Jets are still in rebuilding mode, and with a rookie quarterback at the helm they're probably at least a couple of years away from really being a contender. Mack was obviously going to cost more than the second-round pick Garoppolo netted.
"It's going to sting with them, as players protecting themselves", McKenzie said.