Danny Trevathan fills a big need for Bears at ILB

Chicago now has two impact linebackers, with Trevathan on the inside and Pernell McPhee on the edge.

| 7 months ago
(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

(AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Danny Trevathan fills a big need for Bears at ILB


(Editor’s note: Grades and analysis for this article may be updated as further details of the deal are reported.)

The deal: Bears reach free-agent deal with linebacker Danny Trevathan, worth roughly $28 million over four years, according to Ian Rapoport

Grade: A-minus

What it means for the Bears: When free agency opened last year, the Bears made a big splash by signing edge rusher Pernell McPhee. The move paid off well for the Bears, as McPhee was PFF’s 10th-ranked edge defender this season, but he was one of the defense’s few bright spots. Bears inside linebackers really struggled in 2015, with Christian Jones, Jonathan Anderson and Shea McClellin combining for 1,757 snaps and all grading negatively.

Trevathan has been a full-time starter in two out of the past three seasons in Denver, with his work in coverage standing out the most. Our 10th-highest-graded linebacker in coverage in 2015, he struggled in the AFC championship game against the Patriots, but had a good year otherwise.

The Bears still have work to do on defense, with rookie Eddie Goldman one of just two players on the defensive line to finish the year with a positive grade, and only safety Adrian Amos and cornerback Kyle Fuller grading well in the secondary. This move, however, is a step in the right direction, and a big improvement over what they had at inside linebacker last year. While we’re still waiting for numbers, there’s a lot to like about this move from an on-field perspective.

What it means for the Broncos: When you win the Super Bowl you can expect to lose your top players heading for free agency, and while this loss doesn’t quite have the same impact as quarterback Brock Osweiler or interior defender Malik Jackson, it still hurts. Trevathan was the Broncos’ best linebacker in coverage during their Super Bowl run, so his departure leaves a gap in their starting defense. Todd Davis or Corey Nelson would seem like the most logical choices to replace him in the lineup, with both posting slightly positive grades on limited work in 2015.

| Analyst, Lead Special Teams Analyst

Gordon has worked at PFF since 2011, and now heads up the company’s special teams analysis processes. His work in-season focuses on college football, while he is also heavily involved in PFF’s NFL draft coverage.

  • crosseyedlemon

    The Bears haven’t always had good luck with Bronco castoffs (yeah, I’m looking at you Jay!) but this acquisition could be a very good one.

    • dlund6cutler

      Wasn’t Bushrod from the Broncos to?

      • Tim Edell

        Bushrod came from the Saints

        • dlund6cutler

          Good to know

  • Broncos Fan stopping by.

    He’s playing outside linebacker in Fox’s 4-3 defense. That’s where he excels at and is his original position when he played in Denver.

    • Tim Edell

      The Bears play a 3-4 defense so he will be playing ILB- thanks for stopping by but your information is incorrect!

  • dlund6cutler

    This was graded an A- when he was said to get around $28 mil, what would the grade be now that we know it’s $24.5 mil.