Trevis Gipson has been going under the radar as most of the Chicago Bears pre-season has been consumed with talk of how Justin Fields is being denied a starting role in favour of the veteran Andy Dalton, much to the dismay of just about everyone in Chicago. Everyone other than Matt Nagy it seems.
One other multi-year vet who is currently hogging a position which may well be destined for a younger player is Robert Quinn, but are Trevis Gipson’s impressive pre-season performances enough to prize away the starting OLB role from Quinn, opposite Khalil Mack?
Robert Quinn has experienced periods of success in his first 10 years in the league, most notably with the Rams and Cowboys where he has produced numerous double digit sack seasons. However, since arriving at the Bears in 2020 and signing an eye-watering $70 million 5-year deal, he has been less than impressive.
Last year was a season affected by injuries and poor form, which resulted in Quinn producing just 20 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. Not the return the Bears were expecting when they made the move to bring him to Chicago to compliment the play of No.52, especially with that contract.
In the limited time we have seen Quinn this pre-season, he has looked okay, but a small sample size doesn’t provide enough evidence to suggest either way how he will perform this season.
One player who has shone through both in camp and in the three pre-season games is 2020 5th round pick Trevis Gipson. Many were surprised when Ryan Pace decided to trade up in last year’s draft to select the defensive end out of Tulsa – giving up a 4th round pick in the process. His first season in Chicago saw him struggle to adapt to his new role as an outside line-backer and as a result his playing time and contributions were low.
TREVIS GIPSON IS BIGGER AND STRONGER
Now, after a full offseason programme and some quality time in the weight room, Gipson has come back bigger, stronger and more focused on becoming a standout player in this already solid defensive unit.
His first three outings this season have yielded a return of 10 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble and 1 pass defended. The pressure he is creating off the edge is impressive; one notable instance saw Logan Woodside forced into a throw which was picked off and returned for a score by Tre Roberson against the Titans on Saturday.
There is no doubt that if available, Robert Quinn will start the season opposite Mack; however, if he continues to underperform then it is evident that Trevis Gipson is ready and able to take over that starting spot.
If all of this potential comes good, then the Bears could save some serious cap next season by offloading Robert Quinn. If they were to part with him post-June 1st you could be looking at a $12.9 million cap saving, thus providing crucial resources that are needed to invest around Justin Fields in the evolving offence. It would also validate Ryan Pace moving up in the draft for him and solidify Gipson as another 5th round gem.
Whether Gipson takes the next step when the regular season starts remains to be seen, but what he has to do is take his opportunities when he gets them, and make more of the big impact plays we have seen in pre-season. The Bears cannot rely on the health of the injury prone Robert Quinn, so Gipson may just get his chance.