Bears Trade Pitch Flips No. 9 for 1st & 2nd-Round Picks, $12.5 Million Edge

Payton Turner, Saints

Getty Edge rusher Payton Turner of the New Orleans Saints.

The Chicago Bears face one of the more interesting decisions of draft day in what to do with the No. 9 overall pick.

So much depends on which players are available in that spot — both based on who the Bears might select, or which teams might be hungry to trade with them and for how much. On Thursday, April 18, Bill Barnwell of ESPN explored perhaps the most likely and certainly the most conservative outcome amid the multiple possibilities of early fireworks surrounding the 9th pick in question.

Barnwell proposed a deal in which Chicago fips that selection to the New Orleans Saints in return for a first-rounder (No. 14), a second-rounder (No. 45) and edge rusher Payton Turner.

While we’ve rightfully focused plenty of attention on the Bears landing two top-10 picks in this draft, they don’t have much in the coffers after those two early picks. After trading for Montez Sweat and Keenan Allen over the past few months, Chicago has one pick on Day 2 and one pick on Day 3. It could look to trade down from here to get an extra selection or two.

The Bears would add another premium pick to the mix for their defense while taking a flier on Turner, a 2021 first-rounder who has played just 15 games over three seasons because of injuries. They could also be in the market for a tackle themselves, as mentioned above, but if Chicago wants to move forward with Braxton Jones on the left side, this would be a way to replenish some of its missing draft capital. (It could also use the No. 14 pick on a tackle.)

Saints Edge Payton Turner Has Struggled With Injury Issues for Several Years

Payton Turner, Saints

GettyEdge rusher Payton Turner of the New Orleans Saints.

New Orleans selected Turner No. 28 overall out of Houston three drafts ago, though he has been stricken with poor injury luck ever since.

Turner has yet to play more than eight games in an individual season and has tallied just 3 sacks over the course of his professional career. That said, he has first-round pedigree and remains just 25 years old.

His $12.5 million rookie contract runs through 2024, and he will earn less than $2.4 million in base salary in the upcoming season. That makes him a cheap option for Chicago to pair alongside Sweat on the other side of the defensive line and see what the former Houston product can do if he makes it through just one year relatively healthy.

The 6-foot, 5-inch and 270-pound Turner put up 8.5 sacks and recorded 18 tackles for loss across 17 games played during his final two collegiate campaigns. If he’s able to recapture that form, Chicago catches lightning in a bottle and perhaps brings him back on a new deal. If he doesn’t, he offers the Bears rotational depth at an important position and they can move on from him next March.

Bears Should Have Multiple Good Options at Positions of Need With 14th Pick if They Trade Down With Saints

Jared Verse

GettyEdge rusher Jared Verse of the Florida State Seminoles.

More importantly for the Bears than the acquisition of Turner, though, is the addition of a pick in the middle of the second-round for moving back just five spots from No. 9 to No. 14 in the first.

If Chicago wants to draft an edge defender, Jared Verse of Florida State will probably be there with the 14th pick. If the team wants to go offensive tackle, a player like JC Latham of Alabama or Olumuyiwa Fashanu of Penn State should be available.

One thing that seems almost certain is that none of the top three wide receivers in the draft will remain that far down the board, and the Bears might be able to land a player like Rome Odunze if they hold fast and actually pick at No. 9. However, the addition of Allen from the Los Angeles Chargers for a fourth-round pick lessens Chicago’s need at wideout, which may change the equation depending on how the dominoes fall across the first eight selections.

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