Bears Trade Proposal Swaps No. 1 Pick for Elite WR, Draft Haul

Justin Fields, Bears

Getty Quarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears.

The Chicago Bears boast an embarrassment of riches that will afford the franchise a host of fantastic options for the second offseason in a row.

Chicago’s crown jewel, of course, is the No. 1 overall pick, acquired via trade from the Carolina Panthers ahead of the 2023 NFL draft. As such, the most important question the Bears face next spring is whether to draft a projected franchise QB to replace Justin Fields or to trade the pick for a king’s ransom for the second consecutive year.

The popular opinion around the media landscape is that the Bears must part ways with Fields due to the prospective prowess of USC quarterback Caleb Williams, who has drawn comparisons to the likes of future Hall of Fame players Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.

That Bears general manager Ryan Poles is likely to lose his job if he passes on another C.J. Stroud in 2024 will also factor into the team’s decision, which means Fields could be on his way to the trade block after Chicago’s Week 18 finale against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

However, passing on Stroud last season by trading the top overall pick got the Bears the No. 1 selection in 2024, the team’s top wide receiver in DJ Moore, a first-round swap that resulted in starting right tackle Darnell Wright and two second-round selections (2023, 2025) from Carolina.

A similar trade package for this year’s top pick with whichever QB-needy franchise lands in the No. 3 spot could allow the Bears to secure that team’s top-5 selection and use it to draft wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. of Ohio State. Chicago would also be almost certain to acquire a 2025 first-rounder, if not two future firsts, along with a haul of several other valuable assets.

Justin Fields Has Made Bears’ Decision Difficult With Strong Showing Over Last 8 Starts

Justin Fields, Bears

GettyQuarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears.

If the Bears believe in Fields’ progress — and the team’s progress during the second half of the season under his leadership — then keeping the 24-year-old quarterback for two more cost-controlled seasons may indeed be the correct play.

Fields has made a solid case for himself to remain in Chicago since returning from a dislocated thumb six weeks ago, completing 60.4% of his 192 passes for 1,213 yards, 5 TDs and 3 INTs. He has also rushed the football 69 times for 393 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and 3 scores over that span.

He threw for back-to-back 4-touchdown games before hurting his thumb against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6 and has compiled a 5-3 record across his last eight games as the starter.

All three of those losses came by way of fourth-quarter comebacks, the two most recent of which occurred in road contests against playoff-bound teams, the Detroit Lions and Cleveland Browns. The other came at home against the 8-8 Denver Broncos in Week 4 — arguably the low point of the season for the Bears, who were 0-4 at the time.

Chicago fans also expressed support for Fields as he dismantled the Atlanta Falcons in the team’s home finale at Soldier Field on December 31, chanting “We want Fields!”

The Washington Commanders, New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals currently occupy picks Nos. 2-4 with one game remaining in the regular season, per Tankathon. All three are arguably in a position to draft a QB if the Cardinals decide to shop Kyler Murray, which would clear the way for the Bears to deal the No. 1 pick, drop back two spots in exchange for a huge draft haul and still land Harrison.

Marvin Harrison Jr. Good Fit With Bears Stars Justin Fields, DJ Moore

Marvin Harrison Jr.

GettyOhio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. may be an early first-round draft target of the Chicago Bears.

Jeremy Fowler and Courtney Cronin of ESPN noted on January 2 that the Bears could get more for this year’s top pick than they did from the Panthers in 2023, which adds value to the notion of hanging onto Fields.

“Several executives agree Chicago could net more than it did in the Panthers trade, and from a prospective trade partner already picking in the top five,” they wrote. “Those execs believe the price to get to No. 1 could be two future first-rounders on top of this year’s pick, along with a variation of a Day 2 pick and/or a premium veteran player on a manageable contract.”

That kind of value would certainly help Fields’ continued development, with a player like Harrison topping the list of prospective acquirable assets. Harrison and Moore, the wideout the Bears acquired from the Panthers ahead of last year’s draft, would provide Fields a formidable 1-2 punch.

Harrison and Moore also have a previous connection, as the two ran together on a high school track team while growing up in Philadelphia.

Fields won’t draw the same kind of trade value as the top pick in 2024, whatever that value ultimately proves to be, despite being a first-round selection (No. 11 overall) when the Bears drafted him in 2021. The same executives who predicted that this year’s No. 1 pick will be more valuable than the last one the Bears traded also projected that Fields’ trade value resides somewhere between a second-round and third-round selection.

Other projections, however, have Fields back in the first-round range considering his late-season resurgence and the number of QB-needy teams that exist around the NFL.

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