Insider Floats Possibility of Bears Trade to ‘Protect’ Caleb Williams

Bears Giants Trade Bears Joe Alt Bears Trade Up Bears Trade Rumors Chicago Bears Draft

Getty The Chicago Bears are expected to draft USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick.

With the 2024 NFL draft now only a week away, most of the trade talk about the Chicago Bears is centered on their No. 9 overall selection and whether they will trade it to move further back into the first round for more picks. Could the smart play for the Bears see them trade up higher into the round instead?

NFL Network lead draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently floated the possibility of the Bears trading up three spots from No. 9 to No. 6 with the New York Giants and using their strongest draft position to land Notre Dame left tackle Joe Alt for their offense.

The Bears have two-year starter Braxton Jones in place as their current left tackle, but Jeremiah — one of the most plugged-in sources for the draft — believes Alt can be more of a long-term protector than the “functional” Jones for quarterback Caleb Williams, who will presumably be the Bears’ selection for the No. 1 overall pick next week.

“Looking at the potential trade spots and thought this was an interesting one: Chicago trades up from 9 to 6 to take Joe Alt,” Jeremiah wrote on X on April 17. “I know they have a functional LT right now, but Alt & [Darnell Wright] would be an incredible tandem to protect Caleb for a decade. Ideally for [a] 2025 pick/pick swap.”

Joe Alt Considered Top Offensive Lineman in 2024 Class

The Bears have a good chance of landing a blue-chip prospect at a position of need if they stand pat with the No. 9 pick. One of the top three wide receivers could fall to them, or they could have their choice of top defenders, ideally a star edge rusher.

An opportunity to trade up for Alt — the top offensive lineman in the 2024 draft class — might be too good for the Bears to pass up, though.

Alt played 2,178 snaps as a full-time starting left tackle for the Fighting Irish over the past three seasons, giving up just four sacks in his career and just one in his final two years. He also triumphed as a run blocker, making full use of his ideal length (34-inch arms) and size (6-foot-9, 321 pounds) to dominate opponents at the highest levels.

“Overall, Alt isn’t a rare athlete, but his combination of size, instincts and youth (he’ll be 21 for his entire rookie season) is easy to bet on,” Jeremiah wrote in his latest prospect rankings, in which Alt checked in as the top offensive lineman at eighth-best overall.

Jones has been a solid starter for the Bears, but Alt has the makings of a cornerstone piece and is nearly four years younger than him. If the Bears truly want to do all they can to support their new franchise quarterback, what better way than to secure a pair of top-10 draft selections to hold down each end of his offensive line?

Would Bears Moving Up Cost Multiple 1st-Rounders?

Alt is an undeniable talent who has a good chance of making an immediate impact as a starting left tackle during his rookie season in 2024. Just how much would the Bears have to give up to move up for him, even if only three spots in the first-round order?

Jeremiah speculated that the Bears could potentially get the deal done with the Giants for a 2024 first-round pick swap and a 2025 selection, but he did not specify the round for the latter pick. The Bears could reasonably offer one of their two second-round picks in next year’s draft, but the Giants might insist upon a first-rounder instead knowing that the Tennessee Titans (No. 7 overall) are likely to draft him otherwise.

Still, the Bears may feel a 2025 first-rounder is not out of the question if they have Alt graded highly on their draft boards. Alt did not take a Top 30 visit with the Bears during the pre-draft process, but Fox 32 Chicago reported that the Bears spoke with Alt during his pro day last month. He also essentially played in their backyard at Notre Dame, so they surely got eyes on him at various points throughout his collegiate career.

Depending on where the Bears’ priorities lie, Alt could be worth two firsts in their eyes.

Read More