Bears Trade Pitch Flips Top Pick to Bitter Rival for 3 Firsts, 6 Total Selections

Ryan Poles, Bears

Getty General manager Ryan Poles of the Chicago Bears.

The Chicago Bears should have more than a half dozen serious suitors for the No. 1 pick, including one within their own division.

Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report on Wednesday, January 31, explored what the Bears might procure in return for the crown jewel of the 2024 NFL draft. One of his scenarios outlines a deal with the Minnesota Vikings, in which Chicago nets six picks including three first-rounders (2024, 2025, 2026), two seconds (2024, 2025) and a third (2025).

The leap from the No. 11 spot to the top of the draft is worth a top-five selection, per [Pro Football Reference’s Draft Pick Value Chart]. The Minnesota Vikings don’t have an extra one of those lying around, so they’d realistically have to surrender their next two first-rounders — if not 2026’s as well — and a boatload of Day 2 capital.

The Vikings already don’t have a third-round pick this year. If they want to move up for Kirk Cousins‘ replacement in April, it’s relatively safe to say they’ll be without additional draft picks on the first two days of both this draft and the next one. Because they’re a division rival of the Bears, it might cost even more than that.

Vikings Desperation for Kirk Cousins’ Successor Gives Bears Trade Leverage

Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell, Vikings

GettyGeneral manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (left) and head coach Kevin O’Connell (right) of the Minnesota Vikings.

Initial reaction: the deal Gagnon proposes feels like one that Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wouldn’t do. The team has key positions in the secondary and off the edge of the defense to consider, and handing over the first two days of each of the next two drafts to a division rival is the kind of move that gets a man fired unless it works out almost perfectly.

That said, there are serious points in this trade’s favor for the Vikings. First, the team would have its pick of the best QB class in recent memory.

Quarterback is the most important position in sports, and Minnesota has already invested heavily in its pass game by signing tight end T.J. Hockenson to a record deal and using its 2023 first-rounder on wide receiver Jordan Addison. And don’t forget All-Pro wideout Justin Jefferson, who is expected to ink a record extension of his own with the Vikings in the coming months.

Furthermore, Paul Goessling of the Star Tribune told Paul Allen of KFAN on January 23 that the Vikings “wouldn’t bat an eye” at surrendering a couple of future firsts if it meant getting their QB of choice. The problem for Minnesota is Chicago is the only team that can truly give them that.

The Washington Commanders pick second and the New England Patriots follow at third. Both teams are ostensibly in great need of quarterbacks and aren’t likely to move off their spots unless it’s to go up a pick or two higher. The Vikings can’t guarantee themselves the value they’ll want in return for mortgaging a couple of drafts on one selection, which leaves the Bears as the only legitimate game in town.

Trade With Vikings Would Still Leave Bears With 2 Picks in Top 11

Justin Fields, Bears

GettyQuarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears.

Were the Bears to move off the top pick for the second consecutive year, it would mean the return of QB Justin Fields for his fourth season in Chicago. It would also mean pick Nos. 9 and 11 for the Bears in the coming draft to build around him.

ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. paired Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze with Chicago at No. 9 in his initial 2024 mock draft on January 23 — a projection that presumably wouldn’t change even if the Bears dealt the top pick.

“Odunze had 92 catches for 1,640 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Huskies in 2023,” Kiper wrote. “He played out wide and inside — 30 of his catches came from lining up in the slot — and ran every route in the receiving tree. This would be tremendous value for Odunze, who is No. 5 overall on my board. He could be the 1B to DJ Moore, who had a great first season in Chicago.”

The Bears also have significant needs on the offensive line and off the edge of the defense. In this scenario, the team likely uses the No. 11 selection to draft the best remaining left tackle or the most talented pass-rusher still on the board.

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