Trade Pitch Nets Bears 2 Future First-Rounders, Elite OT for No. 1 Pick

Justin Fields, Bears

Getty Quarterback Justin Fields, formerly of the Chicago Bears.

NFL experts continue to advise the Chicago Bears to keep the No. 1 pick and deal QB Justin Fields, but that’s a whole lot of eggs for one lonely basket in its early 20s.

There are exceptions — such as Peyton Manning and John Elway — but time and again the draft strategy of accumulating multiple bites at the apple has proven the superior path toward building a winning franchise.

If the Bears decide to swim upstream and trade away the No. 1 overall pick, as they did last year with the Carolina Panthers to tremendous success, the franchise is liable to get even more in return. ESPN’s Courtney Cronin and Jeremy Fowler cited multiple NFL executives who said the haul could be two future firsts, plus the trade partner’s 2024 first-rounder (even if it’s in the top-5) and a Day-2 draft asset/established player.

If Chicago believes Fields’ ceiling is a top-10 QB in the league, there isn’t much of a decision at all. The Bears should deal the No. 1 overall selection to the four-win New England Patriots (currently selecting No. 3) who are almost guaranteed to be bad over the next couple of seasons due to a lack of skill position talent and that legendary coach Bill Belichick appears on his way out.

The Bears can use the No. 3 pick to draft Olumuyiwa Fashanu of Penn State, ESPN’s top-rated offensive tackle, and fill a premier position of need with an elite prospect. Chicago can dive into the future with Fields on two more seasons of a cost-controlled contract with the safety net of two first-round picks (likely to fall inside the top-10) from the Pats in the next two drafts that can be utilized to procure a new quarterback if Fields doesn’t, in fact, become an elite QB himself.

Majority of Media Voices Argue Bears Should Trade Justin Fields, Draft QB No. 1 Overall

Justin Fields

GettyThe future of Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields is up in the air now that the franchise has secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Benjamin Solak of The Ringer on Wednesday, January 3, authored a compelling argument against the multiple bites strategy — at least in the Bears’ case regarding this particular No. 1 pick — citing the nearly uniform belief across the NFL landscape that each of 2024’s top two QB prospects is too good for any team without a sure-fire Hall of Famer under center to pass up.

“While the Fields decision looks harder as his play improves, the reality is that it is too little, too late to move the Bears off the first selection,” Solak wrote. “There are a lot of universes in which the conversation becomes legitimately tough. Say Fields never hurt his thumb and started to show this improvement in Week 6 instead of Week 11. Say the Panthers weren’t this bad, and the Bears had the fifth pick instead of the first pick. Then we could talk. A month of good Fields play cannot budge the Bears off Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. It simply can’t.”

The opinions outside the Bears locker room, however, are considerably different than those within it, which is also an important factor the franchise must consider.

Bears Teammates Voice Support, Belief in QB Justin Fields

Darnell Mooney Surprise Trade Candidate

GettyChicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles faces a tough decision on what to do with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Cronin and Fowler spoke to multiple veterans inside the Bears locker room who spoke up for Fields, with one saying his teammates already believe Fields to be a top-1o quarterback in the league.

“No one in here thinks Justin’s not a top quarterback,” the unnamed veteran told Cronin and Fowler. “No one would tell you that. Everyone believes he’s a top-10 quarterback in the league.”

Another veteran speaking on the condition of anonymity voiced the displeasure and dismay he and several of his teammates felt when general manager Ryan Poles dealt linebacker Roquan Smith and defensive end Robert Quinn in August and October of 2022, respectively.

“It’s like, if you get rid of him, what are we doing?” the player said. “It’s like last year when they got rid of Roquan and Rob. That was our captain. We knew we were going down.”

Bears top wide receiver DJ Moore, who the team acquired from the Panthers in the trade of the No. 1 overall pick before the 2023 draft, put his name on his support of Fields Tuesday.

“He’s ‘him.’ I want him to be the quarterback,” Moore said, per Ari Meirov of 33rd Team. “I said what I said. Now it’s on the higher-ups. It’s up to them.”

Poles faces a monumental and agonizing decision at the quarterback spot/with the No. 1 pick. He will be criticized heavily either way and risks losing the locker room and then his job if he’s wrong on a choice that will define the franchise for years to come.

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