Draft weekend is full of surprises. Prospects rising or falling on draft boards. Smokescreens left and right. Trade whispers galore. It’s a high-speed three-day trip down a misinformation super-highway.
And along the way, the Chicago Bears just might have gotten the best of the Buffalo Bills.
The Bills’ official Twitter page shared some behind-the-scenes footage, and a segment that might interest Bears fans begins at the 4:48 mark:
Trades. Picks. And all the drama.
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) May 2, 2019
In the video, Bills GM Brandon Beane confirms the Bears were looking to trade up with the intent of landing their third-round pick – No. 74 overall. Beane said he considered Chicago’s offer, which would have sent the 87th overall selection and a fourth-rounder in 2020 to Buffalo for that pick. However, Beane turned it down since the Bills wanted more from the Bears in a deal.
Interestingly enough, the Bears ended up offering more to the Patriots (who happen to be the Bills’ division rivals) in order to consummate the trade. The Bears threw in an additional pick to make it happen, jumping past the Bills in the process to take David Montgomery. It was a small sacrifice, but one made to select a higher-graded running back prospect than the player Buffalo took in Devin Singletary. More than that, it opened up a window into how the Bears front office conducts business.
Did the Bears intentionally low-ball the Bills? And if so, was it in an attempt to see how interested Buffalo was in drafting a player who might have been high on Chicago’s boards? Is it possible the Bears used this to figure out if the Bills were a team they needed to move ahead of in order to select the running back they wanted most? And why didn’t the Bills counter? Were they afraid of Chicago choosing their preferred prospect? These are among the questions that popped in my head after watching that segment of the video.
And for what it’s worth, my gut says the answer to those questions above is a “definite maybe.” It’s worth re-sharing that GM Ryan Pace confirmed the Bears fielded calls from teams wanting to trade up in the 2017 NFL Draft, gauging the interest in what players teams were interested in taking. Pace’s words essentially confirmed reports that painted the Bears as “antsy” to trade down from the third pick, even if it was a smokescreen. It even helped make sense of draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. pin-pointing the Bears as a team that the Browns needed to trade up with in order to take Mitch Trubisky.
So Pace calling the Bills to test the waters to see how a team that had similar needs to that of his own felt about a trade down might have told him all he needed to know and push him to make the move with the Patriots. And if that’s the case, then that’s a job well done by the reigning NFL Executive of the Year.