Bears Trade Proposal Lands Team 5-Time Pro-Bowl WR For 2nd-Round Pick

DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals

Getty Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals watches from the sidelines during a preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys at State Farm Stadium on August 13, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears finally have a price for arguably the best wide receiver available by any means this offseason.

Arizona Cardinals reporter Mike Jurecki posted on Twitter Wednesday, March 1, that the franchise is seeking a second-round draft choice in exchange for five-time Pro-Bowler DeAndre Hopkins, along with another conditional selection.

“According to a couple agents I’ve spoken with, the Cardinals looking for at least a second round pick and a conditional pick for DeAndre Hopkins,” Jurecki wrote. “These conversations are taking place at the combine.”

The conditional pick is likely to range somewhere in the middle rounds and could be connected to whether or not Hopkins signs an extension with the team that trades for him. The wideout has two years remaining on his current deal, which pays him nearly $34.4 million in salary but counts upwards of $57 million against the salary cap, per Spotrac. Given his age and recent availability issues, Hopkins is likely to desire an extension wherever he goes, assuming he’s satisfied with the destination’s long-term prospects.

A conditional pick could also potentially be tied to the number of games Hopkins plays in 2023. He missed eight contests last season, though six were due to a violation of the NFL’s performance enhancing drug policy. Hopkins also missed seven contests in 2021 due to a knee injury.

Bears Outlook at Quarterback Will Heavily Impact Team’s WR Moves

Fields Shutdown Decision

GettyQuarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears looks on before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Chicago is bereft at some key positions that also happen to be among the most expensive in the league, including wide receiver, offensive line and edge rusher. The team’s array of needs has made it hard to gauge precisely what general manager Ryan Poles will do with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft — a decision that, once made, will start a cascade of personnel moves.

Previous reports have suggested the Bears may look to draft a quarterback with the top selection and accumulate much-needed draft capital by trading Justin Fields. However, Poles told media members at the combine on Tuesday that he had yet to receive even one call about Fields’ availability and what it would cost to acquire him via trade.

Poles said the franchise plans to do its due diligence and scout every top quarterback prospect available in the 2023 draft class, but that Fields is likely the Bears guy moving forward.

“No, nothing’s changed there,” Poles said of Fields’ hold on the QB position. “We’ve always leaned that way because Justin did some really good things, [and] I’m excited about where his game is going to go.”

“But at the same time, when you sit at our situation at [No. 1] overall, you have to do your due diligence, you have to investigate everything, you have to spend time with those guys just to make sure you’re making the right decision,” he continued.

Instead, the Bears are “leaning toward” trading the No. 1 pick for draft assets, and potentially trading down twice, while retaining Fields for the long-term.

With Fields likely to remain under center in Chicago, the chances the team takes a risk on pursuing Hopkins increases, despite the time the wide receiver has missed over the past two seasons and the fact that he will turn 31 years old in June.

Hopkins Arguably Best Wide Receiver Available to Bears in 2023

DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals

GettyWide receiver DeAndre Hopkins of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates after scoring a touchdown during a game against the Los Angeles Chargers at State Farm Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Chicago has been urged to extend wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who is clearly Fields’ top target when healthy. With approximately $100 million in salary cap space this offseason, keeping Mooney in-house and adding a former All-Pro like Hopkins is feasible.

The free agent market is weak at the receiver position, with names like Odell Beckham Jr. and JuJu Smith-Schuster topping the charts. Even at a significantly higher contract number, Hopkins is a better bet than either to stay healthy and produce, as Beckham missed all of last season following an ACL tear and Smith-Schuster hasn’t been a Pro Bowler since 2018.

Other trade possibilities were believed to exist for the Bears — namely Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals and Keenan Allen of the Los Angeles Chargers. However, high-ranking front office members of both the Bengals and the Chargers organizations have publicly nixed the notions that those receivers are on the trade market during interviews at the combine this week.

If those comments are true position rather than posturing, the Bears need to seriously consider dealing for Hopkins with the No. 56 overall pick they acquired from the Baltimore Ravens as the centerpiece of a deal that will be well worth it, assuming Hopkins remains relatively healthy in the seasons to come.

Read More