Bears Have Chance to Land Disgruntled All-Pro, Says Analyst

Quinnen Williams Bears Trade CBS

Getty The Chicago Bears have been predicted to make one more big trade before the start of the 2023 season.

The Chicago Bears have taken steps toward improving their defensive line over the first half of the 2023 offseason, but at least one analyst is pushing for them to make a blockbuster trade that could hurry along their franchise rebuild.

Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports recently weighed in on the possible landing spots for New York Jets star Quinnen Williams after the 25-year-old defensive tackle made a cryptic change to his social media bio that suggested he could be playing elsewhere in 2023. Williams has been engaged in contract negotiations with the Jets, but he has not yet reported for the team’s offseason program as he holds out for a big-money extension.

If the Jets decide negotiations are going nowhere or Williams makes it clear he wants to leave New York, Sullivan believes the Bears could be a top trade candidate for him.

“At just 25 years old, Williams would fit seamlessly into the Bears’ young nucleus, and head coach Matt Eberflus, a former defensive coordinator, would certainly love to bring in a player of this caliber to help jumpstart their defense for 2023 and beyond,” Sullivan wrote for CBS Sports. “The Bears also currently have the most cap space in the NFL and could give Williams the contract he seeks.”

Quinnen Williams Currently Holding Out From Jets

Bears Quinnen Williams Trade Spot1

GettyJets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams has not yet reported for their offseason program.

The offseason has been kind to the Jets in most regards with the highlight being their acquisition of four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Williams and his contract situation, however, have been a bit of a sore spot for the defense in recent weeks.

Williams told reporters in January following the end of the 2022 season that his goal was to “get a contract done before the offseason program” began, and the Jets indicated their interests were aligned when general manager Joe Douglas said at March’s NFL Scouting Combine that they were “optimistic” about getting a new deal in place. Over the past month or so, though, Williams has 1) taken a shot at Douglas’ comments on social media, 2) removed the Jets from his Twitter bio and 3) decided not to report for the start of the team’s voluntary offseason workouts, which began on April 17.

Now, Williams is set to play out the 2023 season on his $9.59 million fifth-year option and, new contract or not, will be expected to eventually report for team activities, but he could force them into a game of chicken if he is willing to take things a step farther and hold out all the way into training camp later this summer. And if that happens, the Jets will have to ask hard questions about whether they really want to pony up the money he wants — Jeffrey Simmons just got $23.5 million per year from Tennessee — or instead find a trade partner willing to help them recoup assets they lost trading for Rodgers.

Bears’ 2023 Draft Decisions Don’t Support DT Trade

Bears Quinnen Williams Trade Spot2

GettyBears rookie defensive tackle Gervon Dexter Sr.

Williams could end up getting traded to another squad before the start of the 2023 season, but nothing the Bears have done over the past month suggests they have any intention of making a blockbuster trade for a new defensive tackle — even an All-Pro like Williams who is only just beginning to enter the prime of his NFL career.

The Bears had the opportunity to draft Georgia star defensive tackle Jalen Carter with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, but they ultimately passed on him and moved back one spot with the Philadelphia Eagles to take offensive tackle Darnell Wright with the 10th overall pick instead. Bears general manager Ryan Poles has not specifically explained why they didn’t take Carter — who was once in contention to be the first defensive player picked in the class — but NBC Sports’ Peter King suggested Carter’s pre-draft concerns offered too much risk for a rebuilding squad to take.

Fortunately, the Bears circled back to the interior of their defensive line in a big way on the second day, using the No. 53 overall pick on Gervon Dexter Sr. in the second round and the No. 64 pick on Zacch Pickens to kick off the third round. They also used a seventh-rounder on Kennesaw State standout Travis Bell, who Poles has called one of his “favorite” picks of the class. That’s an awful lot of draft investment in the defensive tackle position for a team to make just to turn around and throw more assets — and, shortly after, huge money — at an All-Pro-caliber starter for their interior.

Don’t forget, the Bears also still have Justin Jones set to return and added former Las Vegas Raiders run-stuffer Andrew Billings to the room this offseason. All five of them make nowhere near a perfect group, but it is a unit that has a lot more potential for both the short- and long-term futures than the one they fielded in 2022. Having three rookies on affordable four-year contracts is also ideal for the execution of a rebuild.

Nobody is denying that Williams would be a significant upgrade for the Bears if he somehow found his way to Chicago, but the odds of Poles shipping off major capital to improve a position he just addressed heavily in the draft seems highly unlikely — especially when their bigger deficiency right now is at defensive end, not tackle.

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