Considering the presence of Justin Fields, there’s been some speculation that the Bears could look to move the first overall pick to a quarterback-needy squad. While the organization isn’t completely shutting the door on a trade, it sounds like it would take a massive haul to pry the pick from Chicago.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bears would require a “historic haul” if they were to consider moving the No. 1 pick. One source told Rapoport that the offer would need to be “crazy,” and the compensation would presumably need to be too good to refuse.
While it’s seeming increasingly likely that the Bears would select USC’s Caleb Williams first-overall and trade their former first-round QB, there was some merit to the opposite route. As Rapoport notes, many within the organization support Fields, and the Bears have been especially pleased with the QB’s development over the past year (one source described Fields’ makeup as “rare”).
Further, the Bears certainly aren’t strangers to trading the top overall pick. They did so last year in a trade with the Panthers that netted them this year’s first-overall selection. The Bears could theoretically keep adding to their collection of future draft picks, and those rookie salaries would be especially useful as the team navigates a potential Fields extension.
Of course, it’s that contract that will likely play a role in Chicago favoring a rookie QB. Assuming the organization picks up Fields’ fifth-year option, they’d still have their young QB on an affordable salary through the 2025 season. Then, Fields could command one of the most lucrative contracts in the NFL, a deal that might not be palatable for a squad that doesn’t seem all that close to contention.
Further, the Bears aren’t in desperate need of high draft picks following last year’s trade. They’re already armed with both the No. 1 pick and the No. 9 pick in this year’s draft, and they would surely add some draft compensation if they decide to move on from Fields (although the QB isn’t expected to fetch a first-round pick).
General manager Ryan Poles was asked about his tough decision last month. The executive was naturally noncommittal regarding any specific direction, but he did go out of his way to praise Fields.
“We are going to turn every stone to make sure that we are going to make a sound decision for our organization,” Poles said, via Rapoport. “I did think Justin got better. I think he can lead this team. But at the same time, there is a unique situation.”
So what would a historic haul look like? The first overall pick has been dealt 13 times since 1967, and the last two trades (Bears/Panthers in 2023 that saw Bryce Young go to Carolina and Titans/Rams in 2016 that saw Jared Goff go to Los Angeles) involved at least two first-round picks and two second-round picks in compensation. If a potential suitor doesn’t have any additional first-round selections besides their own, they’d be allowed to trade up to four first-round picks during the actual draft (their current selection plus three future picks).