Potential Tampering Charge Could Benefit Bears on Draft Night

Rarely do the Bears benefit from the fortunes of their NFC North rivals, but a potential tampering charge against the Falcons might help Chicago get a player it covets in this year’s draft. According to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, the NFL could punish Atlanta for tampering with Kirk Cousins before signing him. This is a league investigation, however, and not something that Minnesota’s front office alleged or reported.

Florio believes the NFL could ask the two teams to swap first-round picks if a charge sticks.

“Given [how] the NFL handled last year’s tampering by the Cardinals with former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, it’s impossible to rule out an announcement that drops just before the first round of the draft,” Florio wrote. “The Falcons have the eighth pick in round one. The Vikings have the eleventh. What if the punishment is as simple as the Falcons and Vikings flip-flopping the two picks?

“The NFL set the precedent last year, with the sudden and unexpected news of the Cardinals-Eagles settlement. It would make sense for it to happen again, between the Falcons and the Vikings.”

If Florio is correct, and he is just thinking out loud, the Falcons would drop from No. 8 to No. 11, essentially swapping picks with the Vikings. Minnesota needs a quarterback to replace Cousins, so that would virtually guarantee four signal callers will go in the first eight picks. Additionally, if the Bears want to trade up, their division rival will be one less team running interference.

Here’s how Draft Night might play out if Minnesota is  awarded the eighth pick:

  1. Bears – Caleb Williams
  2. Commanders – Jayden Daniels
  3. Patriots – Drake Maye
  4. Cardinals – Marvin Harrison Jr.
  5. Chargers – Joe Alt
  6. Giants – Malik Nabers
  7. Titans – JC Latham
  8. Vikings – J.J. McCarthy

The Bears would then have their choice of WR Rome Odunze, Edge Dallas Turner, or TE Brock Bowers. They could also trade down with the hope of picking up a second-round pick and then selecting from the likes of DT Byron Murphy II, DE Jared Verse, Edge Laiatu Latu, or WR Bryan Thomas Jr. The scenario gets better for the Bears if the Giants take McCarthy. That might force the Vikings to reach for Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr. or trade back. Chicago is guaranteed to get one of the top three wide receivers or Alt if five quarterbacks go in the first eight picks.

Dallas Turner, who Atlanta covets, should be there at No. 9. Ryan Poles might find value in swapping that pick for No. 11 if he can squeeze the 43rd pick from the Falcons for doing so. The Jets are probably taking Bowers at No. 10, and tight end is not a position of need for Chicago because they have Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett. That said, Bowers will provide a similar impact to the team that drafts him as any of the top three receivers. The Jets might prefer Odunze, however, if he is available. Aaron Rodgers does love his offensive weapons.

As I said, this is a league investigation, and nothing may come of it. But, it is worth keeping an eye on. Poles will still have the option of trading up or down no matter the outcome. Or he could just stay put and take the best player available.

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