Draft Pick Jockeying: Loss to Jets Puts Bears in Top Two

If you’re looking for a silver lining in the dark cloud that hovered over the Bears’ loss on Sunday afternoon, it’s jockeying for a top-two draft pick. That selection is significant because a number of teams hoping to draft quarterbacks C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young could covet that No. 2 pick.

If you’re wondering what it costs to trade up, look back at the 2017 Draft. The 49ers traded the No. 2 pick in that draft to the Bears for the No. 3 pick, a third-rounder (No. 67), a fourth-rounder (No. 111), and a 2018 third-round pick (No. 70). San Francisco picked defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, and Chicago selected Trubisky. Trubisky was selected before MVP-favorite Patrick Mahomes.

The 49ers traded the No. 67 pick to the Saints, who selected Alvin Kamara. They also traded the fourth-round pick as part of a package to get the No. 31 overall selection, where they chose linebacker Reuben Foster. San Francisco completed their 2017 haul by selecting cornerback Adrian Colbert. The 49ers added wide receiver Dante Pettis and linebacker Fred Warner with the extra 2018 picks. Not a bad haul for Trubisky.

That trade is one of the biggest reasons the McCaskeys fired Ryan Pace in favor of Ryan Poles. It’s also one of the reasons the Bears are so bad now. There are nine teams who will be looking for quarterbacks in next year’s draft, so plenty of options exist if Poles wants to trade down. Finding a legitimate trading partner could be difficult, however.

Obviously, the Bears do not need a quarterback. They do need help on the offensive and defensive lines, at linebacker, and could use a playmaking wide receiver.

  1. Panthers – They’ll have a new head coach and will be looking for a franchise quarterback after disastrous gambles on Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold, Cam Newton (twice), and Baker Mayfield. The Panthers currently hold the No. 7 pick and have multiple Round 2 and 4 picks.
  2. CommandersTaylor Heinicke looks like the real deal, but is he? He’s the latest in a carousel that has included  Alex SmithCase Keenum, Josh Johnson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Carson Wentz over the last half-decade. Washington would select 20th if the season ended today, but Heinicke might take them to the playoffs.
  3. Texans – Houston might be willing to spend another year grooming Davis Mills, but they have a lock on 1.1, so a trade with the Bears won’t happen. They’ll select one of Stroud or Young.
  4. Saints – Before re-signing Jameis Winston and adding Andy Dalton as the new backup this offseason, they tried to land Deshaun Watson. Trust me, they’re still looking for a replacement for Drew Brees. New Orleans does not hold a first-round pick, however. That is one unfortunate hurdle to clear. They’d have to do something really creative to acquire a top-two pick.
  5. GiantsDaniel Jones is another second-year quarterback with a very loose grip on a 2023 starting gig. That said, New York is more likely to seek an option in free agency. However, Joe Schoen is sitting on 11 total picks, including two third-rounders. He might find Chicago’s second-round pick attractive.
  6. FalconsMarcus Mariota had a great game against the Bears but which quarterback this season hasn’t? Chicago made Mike White look like Josh Allen on Sunday. Mariota is easily expendable — due $14.5M in 2023, he can be cut to save almost all of that — and Atlanta has lots of cash to spend after rebuilding the roster for a second straight year. Atlanta has nine picks, including two in each of Rounds 4, 5, and 7.
  7. Buccaneers – If Tom Brady doesn’t retire, a chance exists that he could return to the Patriots for one final season. Tampa Bay is unlikely to trade up that high in the draft, and may not have the assets to do so anyway.
  8. LionsJared Goff is not the answer in Detroit, and the Lions could end up with two top-10 selections in 2023. They’ll get the Rams’ top pick thanks to the Matthew Stafford trade. If the season ended today, they’d own the Nos. 4 and 9 picks in the first round. Would they trade up with a division rival? It depends on how much they love which of Stroud or Young is available when Chicago’s turn comes up.
  9. SeahawksGeno Smith is one of the greatest stories of the year, but he’s also a free agent after the season. Seattle is more likely to retain Smith and draft a quarterback later in the draft. They’ll get Denver’s top pick thanks to the Russell Wilson trade. So, they could (but probably won’t) make a play for the Bears’ first choice. If the season ended today, that would be third overall. Will the Seahawks covet Stroud or Young as much as the Bears wanted Trubisky in ’17? That’s doubtful. Besides, if the selection is still available when Chicago is on the clock, Poles won’t have much leverage to trade down. It’s doubtful he’d pick a quarterback at No. 2 just to spite Seattle.
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