The Chicago Bears are currently sitting ninth in the 2023 NFL draft order after trading away the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers on March 15, but it sounds as though general manager Ryan Poles might not be done trading yet.
According to ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan, the Bears created “a lot of smoke” about their interest in potentially trading down again in the first round during the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix earlier this week and gave the impression that they are “absolutely open for business” when it comes to trade discussions about the No. 9 overall pick.
“A lot of smoke out of the owners meetings that the Bears are absolutely open for business trading Pick 9 to move back a handful of slots, still get a good player and add more draft capital,” Kaplan said March 27 on his YouTube channel.
The Bears received a massive haul from the Panthers in their original deal for the No. 1 selection in the draft, moving back eight spots to pick up another two second-rounders (in 2023 and 2025), an extra first-round pick (2024) and star wide receiver D.J. Moore. While the potential return for trading back again from the ninth spot would not be near as hefty, it is possible Poles is looking to add another second-round selection that would come earlier in the order than their first second-rounder at No. 53 overall.
Either way, the Bears are in a good spot to dictate their terms to interested parties and, if another trade doesn’t pan out, find a good talent at No. 9 in the order.
Smoke Getting Thicker About Another Bears Trade
Kaplan isn’t the first well-connected Bears insider to tip off their interest in another trade-back scenario. Former Bears scout Greg Gabriel offered similar insight during his March 15 appearance on the Barrooom Network podcast, telling Aldo Gandia that he believes there is a “better than 50-50 chance that [Chicago] trades out of 9.”
Poles himself has also added fuel to the speculative fire with his own comments.
“We’re open to that,” Poles told the Chicago Sun-Times, which also noted the Bears’ second-year general manager isn’t ruling out possibly trading back up, either. “It depends on what the deals look like, but there’s also multiple drop-offs as you go back throughout the draft. So we might not think that’s the best way to go because a certain drop-off at a certain premium position might be coming up soon. We stay fluid.”
Which Teams Could Possibly Want Bears’ No. 9 Pick?
If the Bears do decide another first-round trade is in their future, they might have to wait until the NFL draft begins on April 27 to figure out who is motivated to move up.
The biggest advantage the Bears have right now in terms of leveraging the No. 9 overall pick is the draft board. If one of the top four quarterbacks is still available after the first eight teams make their selections, Chicago might have an opportunity to move down with one of the quarterback-needy teams not in the top 10, such as the Tennessee Titans (No. 11), Washington Commanders (No. 16) or Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 19).
The Titans are one of the most appealing possibilities, as the Bears would only have to move down two spots if they swapped first-rounders and could still most likely get one of the top offensive tackles in the 2023 draft class. If Will Levis or Anthony Richardson are still on the board at No. 9, though, the Titans might be content to just wait for him with the Bears and the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 10) set at the quarterback position.
One other trade possibility that Gabriel threw out during his podcast interview is the Pittsburgh Steelers. While he isn’t sure whether the Steelers would be motivated to actually move up to the ninth overall spot, he suggested the Bears could trade down with them to No. 17 overall and swap both second-round selections with them. That would have the Bears picking at 17, 32 and 49 instead of nine, 53 and 61 and would allow them to more aggressively attack the top half of the second round, which is considered one of the sweet spots of the class.