On trading the No. 1 overall pick, Ryan Poles struggles with the question of “when” not “if”

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It’s becoming more and more clear that the Bears will be trading the first overall pick in the 2023 draft. The question is when they’ll do it, not if.

Peter King leads his latest Football Morning in America column with key comments from Bears G.M. Ryan Poles, who’ll make the ultimate call on when and where the Bears go with the top pick that they earned when the Texans blew it by beating the Colts to cap the 2022 regular season.

Should we do this before free agency?” Poles told King. “Or should we wait? 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.”

Poles explained that he’s not being “greedy,” but that in order to make a deal now “they’re gonna have to go above and beyond.”

Regardless, at some point the deal will be done. Because, wisely, the Bears won’t be giving up on current quarterback Justin Fields.

“When we started to adjust and adapt to what he did well, and he started running the ball a little bit, we saw a very unique and special ability and talent that can change the game,” Poles told King, adding that the next step is to work on making him into a more efficient passer. “I do think there’s potential that we have something really good, and to me, you’ve got to see it through.”

Poles said he believes he can pick up an extra first-round pick in 2024 along with an extra first-rounder in 2025 while still getting one of the top six or eight players on his board.

One way to do it could be to trade twice. Flip with the Texans to ensure they’ll get their top quarterback, and then auction the No. 2 pick to teams like the Colts, the Falcons, and the Panthers. Or maybe Poles can simply tap into Carolina owner David Tepper’s chronic quest for a franchise quarterback and get him to go all in to get to No. 1.

Or maybe instead of twice it will be thrice, moving from No. 1 to No. 2 with the Texans, then to No. 4 with the Colts, then to No. 8 or No. 9 with the Falcons or the Panthers, with each team springing up to get a quarterback.

The problem with having options is that Poles eventually has to pick one. The challenge will be when to do it. When to maximize the haul. Whether to risk waiting so long that the offers start to move the other way.

It could happen. If Tepper’s impulses result in the team signing Derek Carr, there will be one fewer paddle at the auction for the top spot, or the lower spot the Bears acquire. If the Falcons make a play for, and land, Lamar Jackson, they’ll be out of the running, too.

Regardless, the Bears are sitting pretty. They’ve got a bird in the hand, and they’ve got three or four teams willing to give up future first-round picks for the proverbial two in the bush. The challenge becomes picking the right time to beat the bushes for a trade, or two (or three), down the board.

16 responses to “On trading the No. 1 overall pick, Ryan Poles struggles with the question of “when” not “if”

  1. Poles may want to get a deal early so they have the option to do another deal or to really work on options for later rounds (if he gets an extra 2/3 round pick) but realistically any deal will likely happen after some of the pro days. The buzz will ramp up if there starts being a more consensus #1 and then you’ll see teams competing to get them.

  2. But every other team knows that chicago won’t pick a QB, so it will go just like last year while everyone watched the jags have to pick at 1 because nobody wanted to pay the most for a rookie when they can pay the 2nd, 3rd, or whatever #’s salary, as it gets cheaper the longer they wait. All that being said, crazypants Jim Irsay will likely rock n roll his way to #1 with some wild offer… or maybe he’ll just tank another season and earn it his ole fashioned way

  3. The McCaskey’s do not typically draft or sign known low character players. McCaskey had to be talked into, and ended up regretting, signing Aldon Smith when Fangio was DC.

    Now with Carter’s issues, I have a hard time thinking they’d want Poles drafting him. If they drop to 4, they risk losing out on Williams. If they’re okay with that I could now see them go down further if the package is strong enough.

    This QB class is not that strong so that could actually make desperate teams make desperate decisions and severely overpay for the #1.

  4. Bears don’t know if Fields is going to be any good.
    If you try to build around the back quarterback you end up with mediocre team.

    It’s clear that they should draft a quarterback and then also continue to improve the team via the draft.

  5. The “wisely, not to give up on Justin Fields” comment is kind of head scratching.

    I’m not a believer in Fields or my own teams Lance to be honest

  6. Once you’ve decided that Fields is your guy, waiting for the highest bid is easy. The problem is, they’ve decided that Fields is their guy. I mean, this isn’t like when Manning threw a bunch of ints his rookie year. Everybody knew Peyton was going to still be good. But Fields? Will he ever be a good passer?

  7. If Houston is offering right now, you do the deal. Then you open the barn doors for that #2 pick. Just load up and give your staff time to put a great draft plan in place to use all the assets to overhaul the team, including trading some of those assets for veterans, which they can afford since they’re sitting on almost $100 million in cap space.

  8. Bears gonna have to get Raiders, Seahawks, Colts, Falcons frothing at the mouth, convince them to leapfrog up. Texans are such a wildcard of a team, hard to know what they think on a regular basis. Dameon Pierce only good piece they have on O…assuming Cooks wants to go bye-bye. (he’d be great addition to Baltimore as a real professional WR)

  9. Sticking with Fields is lunacy – it is like you have a sink hole that has consumed all of the bedrooms and you marvel at how nice the living room looks.

  10. A better idea – trade Justin Fields and draft CJ Stroud. The gap in passing talent is huge.

  11. Why would Poles do anything other than build around Fields? If Fields doesn’t work out, it’s not a Poles pick, so there’s no egg on his face and he can have some cornerstone pieces in place for whoever they choose to replace Fields. Ride out his rookie contract, acquire as many draft picks as possible and arm yourself for either A) Fields showing a 3rd season leap or B) deciding Fields isn’t the guy and having the collateral to put yourself in place to draft a future QB.

  12. “I do think there’s potential that we have something really good, and to me, you’ve got to see it through.”

    That comment about Fields will come back to haunt him when he is fired in the future for having no offense.

  13. How about you do what’s BEST for the Bears? Don’t worry about other teams.

  14. You gotta love LOVIE AND how he shafted the Texans…course he’ll never get another HC job again but I guess it doesn’t matter

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