Bears Trade Scenario Sends No. 1 Pick Back to Texans for New WR1

Cooks Bears Trade Pitch

Getty The Chicago Bears will be looking to acquire receiver upgrades for Justin Fields this offseason.

The Chicago Bears officially locked up the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft during the final week of the regular season, owing at least part of their good fortune to the Houston Texans for their comeback win in Indianapolis.

If the Texans want to avoid watching the Bears auction off the pick — and the rights to top quarterback prospect Bryce Young — to another quarterback-needy team, though, there might be an obvious trade offer they can make to get back into the top spot that would net Chicago a new No. 1 wide receiver.

The Bears have a laundry list of roster needs to address during the 2023 offseason, but finding a true top receiver for quarterback Justin Fields is among their biggest priorities. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many options that fit the bill set to be available in 2023 free agency, making the trade market their best resource for finding a reliable veteran.

That’s where the Texans and star receiver Brandin Cooks could come into play.

If the Texans would rather not risk missing out on their preferred quarterback, they could get realistically offer the Bears both of their 2023 first-round picks — Nos. 2 and 12 overall — along with Cooks in a package deal to move back up to the No. 1 spot. For Chicago, it would be an ideal trade-back scenario that would still allow them to take the top non-quarterback prospect on their draft boards while also gaining significant assets, including a new WR1 for Fields to have in his arsenal.

Cooks Has ‘Standing Trade Request’ With Texans for 2023

Part of the reason a Cooks trade is worth discussing is that, according to Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, the 29-year-old receiver has a “standing trade request” with the Texans that the team is expected to accommodate during the 2023 offseason.

As Wilson mentioned, Houston already tried to move him once at November’s trade deadline and received interest from several teams, including the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. The Texans were unable to get a deal done, though, due to their high asking price — a second-rounder plus additional compensation — and expectation for the acquiring team to take on his $18 million guaranteed salary for 2023.

Instead, the Texans will likely have to lower their expectations for what they can get in exchange for Cooks and might ultimately be better served using him as a trade chip to try working back into the No. 1 spot. It helps that Chicago has more than enough cap space to take on Cooks’ full contract without concessions. Cooks would also most likely appreciate going somewhere he can continue on as a true leading receiver.

Bears Could Gain Three Starters With Texans Trade

Cooks Bears Trade Pitch2

GettyTexans wide receiver Brandin Cooks, #13, has a “standing trade request” with Houston for the 2023 offseason, per insider Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network.

There is no denying that Cooks would be a welcomed addition to the Bears offense. He has been a 1,000-yard receiver in six of his last eight NFL seasons, and while his production did decline a bit this season (56 receptions for 699 yards), he remained one of the league’s most effective deep-ball receivers despite playing for a Texans offense that finished as one of the worst passing teams in the NFL in 2022. If the Bears could pair him with Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool, it would make for a much better trio of options than what Field worked with for the majority of his second season.

What makes a trade-down scenario with the Texans more appealing, though, is what the Bears could do with the Texans’ other first-round picks. The second overall pick would still allow them to have their choice between Will Anderson Jr. and Jalen Carter, who are largely considered the best two non-quarterback prospects in the 2023 class. They would also then have the 12th overall pick to target another Day 1 starter, such as one of the top offensive tackles in the draft or, perhaps, a high-level EDGE rusher.

Of course, the biggest part of the equation is the Texans and whether they are truly motivated to get Young over either C.J. Stroud or Will Levis. They should feel pretty confident that the Bears won’t select a quarterback if they stay at the No. 1 spot, but the problem is that other teams will likely be calling to jump the Texans in line. If they believe Young is their guy above the rest, they may have no choice but to deal with the Bears to avoid letting the decision haunt them for years to come.

Read More