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The 49ers still face Khalil Mack, just five weeks later than planned

Does this change your opinion on the Bears defense?

On Saturday, the Chicago Bears ended the Khalil Mack saga by sending a load of draft picks to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for the Pro Bowl defensive end. The San Francisco 49ers were rumored to be a part of the trade, but the Bears swooped in hours later to get the deal done. John Lynch confirmed the 49ers involvement in the deal:

“We’d have been foolish not to. The guy is a spectacular player. We’ve always said we’ll exhaust every option to improve our team. We did, we went in aggressively but also knowing we had to set some parameters. We did and somebody else landed him and we’re excited for our team.”

It’s certainly good for Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and the move could very well transform the Bears defense.

The Bears drafted linebacker Roquan Smith in the first round and now have Mack. These two give Fangio some new toys to play with and as any 49ers fan knows, Fangio is one of the best defensive coordinators in the league, capable of making Pro Bowlers out of anybody.

That means the 49ers will not be dealing with Mack when they take on the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football. The trade will cause some harm to the Raiders in 2018, which may tip the scales in the 49ers favor. On the other hand, it helps out the defense for the Bears, making that game a bit more difficult.

The Raiders were not world beaters before the trade, but their roster was far from terrible. The Mack trade gives them some nice ammo for the future, this opens up all sorts of possibilities for Jimmy Garoppolo. The loss of Mack may make the offensive line have an easier time to buy Garoppolo time to get the ball out and the 49ers can maybe benefit from it. I already had the 49ers penciled in to win this game, and the loss of Mack makes me feel better about it.

The Bears on the other hand are a mess, a small step above the state of the 2017 49ers. The addition of Mack certainly gets their defense a leg-up, but their offense is all riding on the development of Mitchell Trubisky. They were able to get Allen Robinson in free agency, but they still have a long ways to go. The addition of Mack is going to make their defense an absolute annoyance, but given the timing of the trade and Mack’s absence from a training camp of any kind—let alone the Bears’ training camp to learn Fangio’s system—makes him a threat, but not as huge in 2018 as initially suggested.

In all, this trade helps the 49ers against the Raiders and probably won’t make a difference when they play the Bears besides a sack or two. The 49ers were not getting around Mack, they were going to face him at some point in 2018. Just now it’s a bit later than usual.