No Bears player had a more impressive 2021 season than Robert Quinn.
The veteran outside linebacker set a franchise record with 18.5 sacks, eclipsing Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent's 17.5 in 1984. Quinn registered at least a half sack in 14 of 16 games played, including 12.0 in the final eight contests—a total that would have led the Bears in every season since 2007, except for 2018 when Khalil Mack compiled 12.5 sacks.
Quinn also excelled defending the run; he amassed 49 tackles and a team-leading 17 tackles-for-loss. His 18.5 sacks and 17 tackles-for-loss were the second most of his 11-year NFL career, topped only by his 19.0 sacks and league-leading 23 tackles-for-loss in 2013 with the Rams when he was voted first-team All-Pro and named to the Pro Bowl.
Due to Quinn's elite performance, ChicagoBears.com has selected him as the Bears' Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year for 2021.
After mustering only 2.0 sacks in 2020, Quinn reverted to the form in 2021 that he's shown most of his 11-year NFL career, most recently in 2019 when he led the Cowboys with 11.5 sacks.
"He has a lot of pride in the way he plays and the product he puts on the field," defensive coordinator Sean Desai said in late December. "He takes a lot of pride in his craft. He cherishes every moment that he gets, whether it's a practice rep or game rep. He tries to optimize all of those. That's kind of who he is."
This season, Quinn was named to his third Pro Bowl and voted second-team All-Pro. He was also chosen the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November after compiling 5.5 sacks, 14 tackles, five tackles-for-loss and two forced fumbles in three games.
Although Quinn is soft-spoken and humble, he helped fuel a Bears defense that ranked sixth in the NFL in total yards and fourth in sacks in 2021.
"In the locker room especially, he's a high-energy guy," safety Eddie Jackson said in December. "He keeps everyone up, everyone on their toes. He's a guy who comes in, he works, he's focused, and just to see him go out there and see him making those insane plays, it's incredible. And for that, we just want to feed off that and get to that level.
"He's a unique guy. He has his own style, his own swag. He continues to do his thing and we're very proud of him."
Roster move: The Bears on Wednesday signed cornerback Lamar Jackson to a reserve/future contract.
Jackson entered the NFL with the Jets in 2020 as an undrafted free agent from Nebraska. He appeared in 13 games with six starts as a rookie, registering 28 tackles, two pass breakups and one tackle-for-loss.
Jackson spent the first 17 weeks of the 2021 campaign on the Jets' practice squad before playing five snaps on special teams in New York's season-ending loss to the Buccaneers.