All the smoke about the Chicago Bears potentially trading quarterback Justin Fields this offseason appears to have served its purpose.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bears have been in contact with multiple teams about possibly trading the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft and are now said to be “leaning toward” moving down from the top spot in exchange for a meaningful haul.
“Sources: The Bears have already been approached by multiple teams about trading the draft’s No. 1 overall pick, and Chicago is said to be ‘leaning toward’ moving the pick,” Schefter tweeted early on February 27. “So the No. 1 pick now looks like it’s for sale.”
While Schefter didn’t specifically name any of the teams that have reached out to Chicago about the No. 1 pick, there are several teams with a top-10 draft pick and a need at the quarterback position who could realistically consider moving up. The Houston Texans (No. 2) and Indianapolis Colts (No. 4) are still the top candidates, but the Las Vegas Raiders (No. 7), Atlanta Falcons (No. 8) and Carolina Panthers (No. 9) could also enter the fray with a compelling enough offer for the Bears.
Regardless of the trade partner, the Bears will be making a firm decision about their future if Schefter’s intel proves right and they choose to sell the No. 1 overall pick. A trade would send a clear message that Poles and his front office believe in Fields as their starting quarterback — at least for another season — while simultaneously adding additional assets that can help them surround him with better weapons.
When Could the Bears Trade Away the No. 1 Overall Pick?
There is no timeline currently on when the Bears might trade the No. 1 overall pick, but it is worth noting that Poles and the rest of the NFL’s general manager will be gathered in Indianapolis all week for the annual NFL Scouting Combine — where teams have been known to lay the groundwork for offseason trades. At the very least, Poles could walk away with a clearer idea of what some teams are willing to give up for the pick.
That said, Chicago is in no rush to fleece a team for the top draft pick. the Bears have many roster needs to address and are only a few weeks away from 2023 free agency beginning on March 15. Chances are good they will want to see how some of their signing efforts pan out before they commit to a specific trade package. Which players they add in free agency could also determine which player sits atop their draft board.
The Bears could also wait until draft day to make a deal; although, that strategy could blow up in Poles’ face if the trade suitors stand pat and leave Chicago in a situation where it has to either use the No. 1 pick or settle for a lesser exchange.
The No. 1 pick hasn’t been dealt since the Tennessee Titans traded down from the top spot to No. 15 overall with the Los Angeles Rams in 2016. The Titans gave up the pick along with a fourth- and sixth-rounder in exchange for a first-round pick, two second-round picks and a third-round pick in 2016 as well as the Rams’ first- and third-rounders in 2017. That trade went down 14 days before the draft on April 14.
Justin Fields Trade Rumors May Raise No. 1 Pick’s Value
The Bears trading away the top pick in the 2023 draft has been a strong possibility since the moment they locked into the No. 1 spot in the final week of the regular season. In recent weeks, however, there have been rumors circulating about Chicago potentially going a different direction with the pick that would involve them dealing Fields to a quarterback-needy team and using the No. 1 pick on a rookie quarterback.
Don’t worry, Justin Fields fans. The rumors are part of the process.
The Bears can only benefit from more chatter about them possibly trading away Fields. While the No. 1 overall pick holds a certain degree of prestige on its own, there are teams just behind Chicago in the draft order — Houston and Indianapolis — that could decide to wait out the Bears if they are convinced they won’t select a quarterback. If there is an air of mystery to the Bears’ thinking, though, either of those teams could become more motivated to pull the trigger and avoid missing out on their guy, especially if they believe the Bears are willing to move on from Fields.
After all, the mystique is an asset during NFL draft season.