The NFL draft is still more than three months away, taking place April 27-29 in Kansas City, Mo. But with the Chicago Bears holding the No. 1 pick for only the third time in franchise history, inquiring fans have questions — and Brad Biggs answers them in his weekly mailbag.
If the Bears trade to No. 2, what do you expect the package they would get in return would be? — @cladovanjeff
There will be no shortage of questions regarding the infinite possibilities Ryan Poles potentially will have with the No. 1 pick in the draft until he uses the selection or auctions it off. If the Bears were to move down one spot with the Houston Texans, who are in need of a quarterback, it would result in the smallest of all potential returns. I’m skeptical the Bears would get two first-round picks in this situation — it simply would be too high of a price for the Texans to pay unless they are positively head over heels for one of the prospects and suspect/fear another team is lurking to trade for the pick.
A lot of unknowns remain with the class of quarterbacks, led by Will Levis, C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young (listed alphabetically). As NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah noted, it is difficult to put them in a pecking order right now, and all three are “flawed.” If there were a clear No. 1, the pick would have more value. In that scenario, if the prospect were viewed as a generational talent, perhaps even the Bears would be considering taking the player.
Draft pick trade charts have been around forever — Jimmy Johnson is credited for creating one when he was with the Dallas Cowboys. That chart has circulated for the longest time. NFL teams have adjusted it, and every team has its own model of what value should be assigned to each pick.
Every draft chart you uncover is going to be different. Overthecap.com has one that suggests the Texans would be overpaying if they gave the Bears the No. 2 pick and their third-round selection for No. 1. Could the Texans be driven to pay more? Anything is possible when the stakes involve a quarterback. This is just one chart.
Another chart Rich Hill devised at Pats Pulpit suggests the Bears could get more in a move down just one spot. According to this model, the Texans would be just a little light if they offered the No. 2 pick along with their second- and third-round picks.
The Texans own two first-round picks — Nos. 2 and 12 — and it is inconceivable to me they would offer both firsts to move up to No. 1. Maybe the Texans, after they finish their scouting, are happy with two of the QB prospects. In that scenario, they could wait to select one no matter what happens at No. 1. Moving to No. 2 would be advantageous for the Bears as it likely would ensure them the top non-quarterback on the board and give them more draft capital.
I believe Bears have to receive a 2024 first-round pick as part of any trade of the No. 1 pick in case Justin Fields regresses. That way they have two 1s in 2024 to get into the Caleb Williams-Drake Maye fray — sort of like Howie Roseman did with the Eagles last season. Agree? — @themaxconnor1
I mentioned previously that acquiring a first-round pick for 2024 in a trade scenario could help position the Bears to get in the QB derby a year from now. That certainly has to be part of the consideration for Ryan Poles and Co. in the event they start getting some action for the pick, something that will not happen for some time. Of course, if Williams, Maye or another quarterback (Quinn Ewers, anyone?) is lights out in the fall and is the presumptive No. 1 pick, you better have that selection in your pocket because it could be a situation in which the team sitting there never would deal down. There would be multiple advantages to adding a future first-round pick in a trade-down scenario. As I detailed above, the Bears probably would have to move down past the Texans at No. 2 to make that happen.
Do you view the 2023 quarterback class as relatively weak and thus lower trade value of the No. 1 pick? — @cj_chi6142
I don’t know if I would call it weak but it certainly lacks a definitive No. 1 choice right now. Alabama’s Bryce Young has been electric, but as I detailed in 10 Thoughts after the season finale, a team is going to take a leap of faith on him being physically able to withstand the rigors of professional football. The Crimson Tide list Young at 194 pounds. NFL scouts I have spoken with throughout the year believe he is closer to 185. We’ll see at the end of February when the NFL scouting combine rolls around. Why is that number significant? According to Pro Football Reference, three quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2000 have weighed 210 pounds or less.
- Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals: No. 1 pick, 2019, 5-10, 207 pounds
- Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns: No. 22 pick, 2014, 6-0, 207
- Michael Vick, Atlanta Falcons: No. 1 pick, 2001, 6-0, 210
The gap between 207 and 194 is big and even larger if Young is closer to his estimated weight of 185.
Kentucky’s Will Levis has drawn comparisons to Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who went seventh in 2018. Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud is coming off an excellent season and was top-notch against Georgia in the CFP semifinal. I am sure quarterback-needy teams will have them stacked differently two months from now. One key thing when considering the potential trade of the pick is how far apart teams in need grade the quarterbacks. If grades are similar, it could reduce the urge to pay (overpay?) for a trade up to No. 1.
The Bears have a good chance to generate interest in the pick. Multiple veteran quarterbacks will be on the move this offseason. Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Brady, Sam Darnold and even perhaps Lamar Jackson could change addresses. Teams acquiring established QBs will be far less likely to draft one, and you can all but rule them out of trade-up discussion.
I have seen some people saying the Bears should trade Justin Fields and draft a quarterback. Fields has been great with his running and playmaking, but I think he is subpar with his passing. Do you think the Bears should start over at quarterback and trade Fields while his value is high? What kind of package do you think they could get for him? — Gary
Ryan Poles has said the Bears are excited about working with Fields and helping him improve and indicated it is highly unlikely the team will draft a quarterback at No. 1. o, the chances of this scenario playing out are almost nil — unless Poles does an about-face. I am not sure the Bears would be trading Fields while his value is high — other teams are going to question the struggles with the team’s passing offense. One personnel man I chatted with about this topic a few weeks ago — before Poles held his season-ending news conference, thought the Bears might be able to get a late first-round pick for Fields. Again, it’s almost certainly a moot point, but if the Bears were to attempt to trade Fields, his value would be diminished a little because teams would know the team was looking to take a QB at No. 1.
What is the next step for the Bears defense? — Triton John
We will have a much better understanding of what the defense will look like and what strengths it can establish when the player procurement period ends. The bottom line is the Bears have to replace a bunch of starters on that side of the ball, particularly in the front seven. They did that this season, but with limited resources, well, the product wasn’t very good.
Six former Bears will have started in the playoffs this season if the Philadelphia Eagles’ Robert Quinn is in the mix Saturday. Quinn had arthroscopic knee surgery in early December and has been designated to return from injured reserve, meaning he is on the practice field this week as the team prepares for a divisional-round game against the New York Giants. Linebacker Roquan Smith (Baltimore Ravens), edge rusher Khalil Mack (Los Angeles Chargers), defensive tackle Akiem Hicks (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), cornerback Duke Shelley (Minnesota Vikings) and safety Tashaun Gipson (San Francisco 49ers) started in the wild-card round. And Vikings defensive tackle Khyris Tonga played 24 snaps in the rotation.
The Bears did not improve over any of those players, and that process needs to get rolling in free agency and carry through the draft.
Given the lack of free-agent playmakers at wide receiver, should Ryan Poles be entertaining a run at Odell Beckham Jr. or DeAndre Hopkins? — Robert B., Corona, Calif.
I addressed the possibility of a trade scenario for Hopkins in last week’s mailbag. Have you seen the video of Beckham being taken off an airplane in Florida in December? That’s more than a little bothersome to most folks. Beckham has had two surgeries to repair a torn ACL, and I’m not sure the Bears are at the point at which they need to add him to the mix. They would be much more likely to target Jakobi Meyers in free agency than Beckham.
Two items I have not seen addressed: Is Ryan Poles still having to rely mostly on Ryan Pace’s scouts? And what did Kevin Warren do for Vikings’ on-field success? — Kirk M.
You must have missed the mailbag in November when I detailed the turnover in the scouting department from last season. The Bears hired Ian Cunningham as assistant general manager and Trey Koziol as a co-director of player personnel. They hired three new area scouts: Tom Bradway (Northeast), Ryan Cavanaugh (Midwest) and Reese Hicks (West Coast). Seven college scouts remain from the Pace era.
As far as Warren’s contributions in Minnesota, he rose to the level of COO and oversaw business operations. He didn’t oversee football operations — the Wilf ownership group separates the two. Given Warren has spent more than two decades in the NFL, it’s natural to believe he is prepared to oversee the entire operation now. Time will tell. And there is going to be plenty of time for improvement on the field before the Bears move — if indeed they head to the suburbs.
Being a lifelong fan, I’ve been confronted with an even bigger question regarding the Bears’ likely move to Arlington Heights. I’m nervous as a tattooed individual and die-hard fan of the “C” logo whether they’d eliminate Chicago from the name and change it to the Arlington Heights Bears. — Joseph Q.
You can rest easy about having to head to the tattoo parlor to see if the artist can turn a “C” into a fancy “AH.” The Bears are not going to change their name if they play home games in Arlington Heights. The Dallas Cowboys don’t play in Dallas. The San Francisco 49ers don’t play in San Francisco. The New York Giants and Jets play in New Jersey. The Washington Commanders play in Maryland. The Buffalo Bills play in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Assuming things go somewhat smoothly, what would a rough completion date be for a new stadium? — @darin926
Pure guess: I can’t see the Bears playing home games in Arlington Heights before 2026 at the earliest. One thing Kevin Warren said Tuesday that stood out was the fact the Vikings spent an entire year planning the construction of U.S. Bank Stadium. This is a massive parcel of land, and it’s going to require a ton of work and infrastructure upgrades. You’re looking at a minimum of three more seasons at Soldier Field in my mind, maybe four.
Are there any significant positives of Luke Getsy coaching at the Senior Bowl? — @lavine_x_fields
There isn’t a negative. Getsy will be the head coach for one of the teams and will have three Bears assistants with him — linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi, assistant special teams coach Carlos Polk and assistant tight ends coach Tim Zetts. They will have some insight to players in the scouting process, which could prove useful in the pre-draft process.
Which free-agent running backs do you see as an upgrade to David Montgomery? — @briefkase20
Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs and Tony Pollard will all be more coveted if they reach the open market, and the Eagles’ Miles Sanders enhanced his value this season. The first three are the big names to keep an eye on. Would the Bears sink big money in a running back? GM Ryan Poles came from Kansas City, where the Chiefs have done pretty well for some time rolling through players on rookie contracts and finding useful castoffs such as Jerick McKinnon. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Bears were to make a splash at RB in free agency, but I’ve always been leery of big contracts at the position and I’ve been pretty clear about that. Maybe the Bears would consider an investment as an idea to support Justin Fields, and if that’s the case it could make sense. But so many big running back contracts have gone bad.
Any update on Tevin Jenkins and his back/neck issues? — @ht_hybridtheory
Jenkins flashed quite a bit this season. The problem is he was on the field for only 576 snaps, and durability concerns will follow him until he proves he can stay healthy. At the end of the season, Jenkins indicated he planned to spend time working on exercises to strengthen his neck. He’s doing Pilates to help with his back, which wasn’t as much of an issue this season as a hip injury and then the stingers/neck issue. His third season will be pivotal. A stellar season could put him in line for a major contract.
The free-agent class at defensive tackle looks strong with several intriguing players at the three-technique position. If the Bears make a big splash on a three-technique in free agency, do you think that makes them less likely to go for Jalen Carter in the draft? — @mosconml
Free agency always serves as a road map of sorts heading into the draft. Teams that will clear needs in free agency can change their draft focus somewhat. The Washington Commanders’ Daron Payne and Denver Broncos’ Dre’Mont Jones will make a fortune if they reach the open market. The Arizona Cardinals’ Zach Allen and Minnesota Vikings’ Dalvin Tomlinson could be three-technique options for some teams. If the Bears spend big on a three-technique, I would imagine they would be less likely to select Carter. But you never know, especially if they believe one of the veterans has positional flexibility.