Insider Says Colts Could Send WR, Picks to Bears for No. 1 Selection

Chris Ballard

Getty Colts general manager Chris Ballard is leading the charge during Indianapolis' offseason.

The Indianapolis Colts could be in the market for the Chicago Bears’ No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 draft, a Bears insider revealed on January 13.

On his YouTube show, radio personality David Kaplan said the Colts are poised to send wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., multiple draft picks and “potentially” another player in exchange for the top selection in this year’s draft.

“There are a lot of teams ready to pay a stiff price to get the Bears’ No. 1 pick,” Kaplan said. “It certainly looks like the Bears are all-in on Justin Fields. In fact, the Colts reportedly [are] ready to put a deal together that could include wide receiver Michael Pittman, potentially another player and a bevy of draft picks.”

If Indianapolis pulled off this trade, it would likely select a quarterback. Kaplan said it seems the Colts are “infatuated” with Kentucky quarterback Will Levis.

The Colts have had five different starting quarterbacks in the last five years. Since Indianapolis currently has the No. 4 pick, trading up would give it the prospect it wants most. The team hasn’t used a Day 1 or 2 pick on a signal caller since 2012, when Andrew Luck went No. 1 overall.

Per Kaplan, the Colts won’t be the only team pushing for the first pick. He said the Houston Texans, among other teams, are expected to make “strong offers” for the top spot.

With an early-round pick, the belief that the Colts should put their faith in a young signal caller has recently picked up steam. Former Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano said the Colts should select a quarterback in the first round, whether or not the team trades up.


Demand for the First Pick

If the Colts are indeed “infatuated” with Levis, the team could end up trading up for him, as Kaplan suggested.

Throwing over 2,400 yards and 19 touchdowns with the Wildcats in 2022, Levis is regarded as one of three top quarterbacks in the draft along with Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud (if Stroud ends up declaring). Levis was projected to go to the Colts in a mock draft last month.

“There are others that like Bryce Young, including Houston, but Will Levis is expected to rocket up the draft board,” Kaplan said.

The same day Kaplan revealed the Colts’ interest in trading for the No. 1 overall pick, it was reported that the odds for Levis to become the top selection increased dramatically. Levis’ odds to go No. 1 improved from 22-1 to 9-1 on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Indianapolis doesn’t have an easy route to potentially acquiring the No. 1 pick, especially if other teams are vying for the top spot. If another quarterback-needy team acquires the No. 1 pick, two or three quarterbacks could even go off the board early if the Colts are unable to make a deal with the Bears.


How the Trade Would Affect Indianapolis

If Kaplan’s reported deal comes to fruition, the Colts would send Pittman Jr., who was a 2020 second round selection, to the Bears.

Pittman Jr. led the Colts in receiving yards in 2021 and 2022 while also catching 99 passes this season. Losing him would mean the team would have a large void to fill at wide receiver.

Alec Pierce would likely be the No. 1 option if Pittman Jr. departed. With Parris Campbell becoming a free agent, however, the Colts would also likely seek more pass-catching help in the draft and free agency if they are unable to retain him.

The trade would surely involve a slew of picks, including Indianapolis’ No. 4 selection. The Colts might include their No. 35 pick in the second round as a part of compensation.

It’s unclear which “potential” Colts player would be involved in the deal, but defensive tackle Grover Stewart, cornerback Stephon Gilmore and cornerback Kenny Moore II are set to be 2024 free agents along with Pittman Jr. Indianapolis could look to deal one or more of these players on expiring deals.

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