In signing edge rusher Robert Quinn to a five-year contract, the Bears bolstered a key position with one of the top free agents available.
That's how general manager Ryan Pace described the acquisition of the two-time Pro Bowler Friday on a conference call with the media.
"It's obviously a position we value," Pace said. "One of the first things that comes to mind as you strengthen your team is your pass rush affecting the opposing quarterback.
"We just feel like Quinn's a proven pass rusher. He's got excellent edge speed. He's got outstanding ability to bend the corner, and I think we can take a position of strength on our defense and we make it even stronger and more dangerous when you add Quinn and you combine him with the players that are already up there, especially up front."
Quinn is excited to join a Bears front seven that also includes outside linebacker Khalil Mack, inside linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith, and linemen Akiem Hicks, Eddie Goldman and Bilal Nichols.
"Who can't get excited to join up with guys like Mack, [Kyle] Fuller, Hicks, Goldman, Trevathan?" Quinn said during a conference call Friday. "I know I'm missing some guys, so tell them please no disrespect. It's just some of the names and the whole presence of it all is just exciting."
Quinn is especially excited to play opposite of Mack, a five-time Pro Bowler who has compiled 61.5 sacks in six NFL seasons.
"From the outside looking in, he definitely has established one of the great early careers," Quinn said. "He's probably going to get the double teams or more attention, so hopefully that frees me up a little bit and I get to take advantage.
"The type of player he is, he's been dominant, whether he's rushing the passer or playing the run. I've got to fill in and do the same thing, just make my presence felt, joining the guys on the team, trying to pick up the pieces and do exactly what they want, and that's to play great defense."
Quinn also was being pursued in free agency by the Falcons, and he conceded that the decision to sign with the Bears was not an easy one.
"It was tough," Quinn said. "I went through the players everywhere, the city, the coaches, and just overall where I could be happy and what city might be best for me and my family in general. There were a lot of factors.
"It was a tough decision when I had to finally make it. But just Chicago was on the right side of the coin, and once I made that decision I kind of put my head down again and just went back to work."
Explaining the process that led to him signing with the Bears, Quinn said on his conference call that "basically that's what it boiled down to is a coin flip." He later clarified that he didn't actually flip a coin but was using the expression as a figure of speech to describe how close the decision was.
Quinn joins the Bears having appeared in 125 games with 106 starts over nine NFL seasons with the Rams (2011-17), Dolphins (2018) and Cowboys (2019). He has recorded 290 tackles, 80.5 sacks, 90 tackles-for-loss, 25 forced fumbles, 20 pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one touchdown.
Quinn reached double digits in sacks for three straight seasons with the Rams from 2012-14 with 10.5, 19.0 and 10.5.
Hampered by injuries in 2015-16, Quinn returned to play a full season in 2017 before being traded by the Rams to the Dolphins on March 14, 2018. In his only season in Miami, Quinn started all 16 games and recorded 6.5 sacks.
Traded to the Cowboys on March 28, 2019, Quinn had a resurgent season in Dallas while starting all 14 games he played. His team-leading 11.5 sacks and 22 quarterback hits were his most since 2013 and his 13 tackles-for-loss were his most since 2014.
"Honestly, I've got to give a big credit to my agent, Sean Kiernan," Quinn said. "He kind of made me refocus myself in the offseason, get back to training a little more seriously, taking life a little more seriously. I always like to tell him thank you when I can, and you can never take that for granted."