Chicago Bears to trade No.1 draft pick with NFL teams on high alert

The Chicago Bears have reportedly made the decision to keep quarterback Justin Fields and trade the number one pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. What the Bears were set to do with the coveted first overall selection has been one of the key narratives of the NFL off-season thus far but it appears the franchise has decided to ship the pick for a monumental haul. 

The NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis saw a strong showing from the quarterback class with Alabama’s Bryce Young, Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, Kentucky’s Will Levis and Anthony Richardson of Florida all receiving rave reviews either from the workouts or interview process. As a result, Chicago is in the perfect position to reap the benefits in terms of compensation as they look to trade back given the team has a quarterback in Fields.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles has ultimately kept his cards close to his chest since the end of the season, with many believing he would trade the pick while others thought he could seek to move Fields. Poles has also insinuated he would be happy to stay put if the right offer doesn’t arrive – but this seems unlikely with plenty of reports claiming the interest in the number one pick is significant. 

With several quarterback-needy teams involved, it’s safe to assume the Bears will get an enormous return, particularly after the quarterbacks impressed at the combine. In an interview with NBC Sports, Poles appeared to confirm the plan was to trade the pick and stick with Fields – for now.

Poles reportedly said the Bears have ‘got to see it through’ in regards to Fields’ future with the franchise, while he also claimed he spoke to three teams at the combine about striking a potential deal. He even revealed he is confident to secure a 2024 and 2025 first round selection in any major package he can get for the first pick. 

The Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers each possess picks in the top 10 and could all feasibly be in play for a signal-caller in Kansas City next month. The Bears would undoubtedly welcome a bidding war while they would ideally like to remain in the top 10 in order to pick an elite prospect at a more urgent position of need.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport claimed teams are ‘scrambling’ to get the first pick via a trade with Chicago, which plays into Poles’ hands. He said: “Should we do this before free agency? Or should we wait?

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“I don’t know. That’s what I’ve communicated [to teams]. I could carry this all the way until we’re on the clock the night of the draft. But then there’s teams that want some certainty because, ‘If I need a quarterback bad, should I do that now when some of these guys, like Derek Carr, are out there?’ To me, they’ve got to go so much more above to do it now.

“I’m not greedy with it. But they’re gonna have to go above and beyond to close the door now.”

Fields made significant progress in 2022 after a concerning rookie year. His freakish running ability means he is on par with a high-calibre quarterback like former MVP Lamar Jackson, but he needs offensive help – it’s now up to Pole and the Bears front office to provide it with the compensation they are set to get for the first overall pick.

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