The Chicago Bears view linebacker Danny Trevathan as a special leader. That is why they chose to resign him over younger options despite suffering an injury last season.
This offseason, the Chicago Bears had a number of decisions to make concerning free agents. Decisions not only to bring in free agents from other teams but also free agents from the team. They had big decisions on safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, and linebackers Nick Kwiatkoski and Kevin Pierre-Louis, among others.
Another linebacker the Bears had to make a decision on was Danny Trevathan. Trevathan was one of the leaders on the defense, both on the field and in the locker room.
The decision came down to two linebackers — Trevathan and Kwiatkoski.
Kwiatkoski really impressed the team and the fans. Trevathan suffered a gruesome elbow injury and missed seven games last season. Kwiatkoski stepped up and did a great job of filling in for him. In the seven games he played as a starter, he recorded 49 tackles (5 for loss), a sack, and a safety.
Kwiatkoski is 27 years old and Trevathan is 30. The easy decision is picking the younger player, right? Well, the decision wasn’t too easy to make. In fact, instead of going younger, they gave Trevathan a three-year, $21.8 million deal. Kwiatkoski cashed in on his success with a three-year, $21 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Despite going on injured reserve twice in four seasons, Trevathan still played well. Additionally, he was a great leader. He was instrumental in helping fellow inside linebacker Roquan Smith get accustomed to the NFL. Because of Trevathan, Smith succeeded on the field. Trevathan took Smith under his wings and really helped him. In his two seasons, Smith recorded back-to-back 100+ tackle seasons. Now he’s ready to really break out and have Trevathan next to him.
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The Chicago Bears coaching staff value the leadership Trevathan provides. This is what inside linebackers coach Mark DeLeone said about Trevathan.
I think Danny’s leadership is special. I think it’s unique. also, I think prior to his injury last year he was playing the best ball he ever played. So I think there’s a lot of reasons to bring Danny back and I’m excited about that.
In 2018, Trevathan had 102 tackles and 2 interceptions. At the time of his injury in 2019, he had 70 tackles in nine games. He was on track to recording 124 tackles for a full season. That would’ve been the second-highest tackle total in his career.
In 2019, the Chicago Bears defense allowed 18.6 points per game, good for fourth in the league. They allowed an average of 102 rushing yards per game, good for ninth. When you look deeper into the stats, however, you see how much the defense missed Trevathan.
- With Trevathan: 17.4 points per game, 94 rushing yards allowed per game
- Without Trevathan: 20.1 points per game, 112.3 rushing yards allowed per game
As you can see, the defense was even better with Trevathan on the field. Despite having a struggling offense, the 2019 season could’ve been different. For example, if the defense maintained the 17.4 average they had with Trevathan, that’s about 20 fewer points allowed. The Bears lost five games by eight points or less. The fewer points allowed could’ve helped the Bears win a couple more games. Because of that, they could have made the playoffs.
Having a healthy Trevathan in 2020, to go along with the additions made, helps make this Chicago Bears defense stronger. Furthermore, it could eclipse the 2018 defense.