As owners of the 9th and 15th picks respectively, the Broncos and Patriots have long been viewed as teams who could take one of the top-5 quarterbacks in this draft class.
But after trading for Teddy Bridgewater, the Broncos’ needs at quarterback are lesser today than they were before making the deal with the Panthers. And perhaps the Patriots — who supposedly have an interest in Justin Fields — will follow with an acquisition of a veteran QB of their own:
What I’ve been told, by a reliable source —- @Patriots are working on a new contract for Jimmy G that could lead to a deal with @49ers. Same source who correctly told me Tom Brady had signed with @Buccaneers. Doesn’t mean it will get done, but they’re working on it.
— Dale Arnold (@DaleEArnold) April 28, 2021
So there are some obvious caveats we must address before getting excited about the concept of *ANOTHER* team taking its hat out of the QB hunt. For starters, the Patriots would have to execute a trade to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo in the first place. From there, New England would need to re-work what’s left on Garoppolo’s deal — which has cap numbers of $26.4 million in 2021 and $27 million in 2022. There’s no more guaranteed salary on Garoppolo’s deal, which could make this easier to navigate than, say, deals we’ve seen with Nick Foles or Teddy Bridgewater in recent times. Even still … there are real hurdles to clear.
And yet, Bears fans should be rooting for the Pats and Niners to clear every one of them between now and the start of the draft.
If the Broncos and Patriots bow out of the QB draft derby, that is a wonderful development for the Bears. Imagine a draft that unfolds with the Jaguars (Lawrence), Jets (Wilson), and Niners (Jones? Fields? Lance?) going with quarterbacks 1-2-3. That leaves two top-5 quarterbacks on the board with a handful of teams who don’t figure to take a quarterback. Not to mention some others who appear to be taking themselves out of the running before the draft. Think about it. If the Falcons (Pitts?), Bengals (Chase? Sewell?), Dolphins (DeVonta?), Lions (Sewell? Slater? Surtain?), Panthers (Surtain? Farley?), and Broncos (Slater?) go non-quarterback, then we’re possibly looking at an easier (and perhaps, less expensive) road to a trade-up with the Cowboys (10th) or Giants (11th). Or maybe there’s even a road to moving up in a deal with Miami, Carolina, or Denver.
All in all, options are popping up that could lead to the Bears falling into an ideal trade-up possibility.
Of course, the road to a player such as Justin Fields or Trey Lance isn’t totally clear. For example, I suppose the Panthers could select a quarterback to put in competition against Sam Darnold. I could also make a case for a QB to take on Bridgewater and Drew Lock in Denver. And let’s not rule out a trade-up from Washington’s football team. But in the end, taking the Broncos and Patriots out of the equation is a marginal win.
Ultimately, it feels as if there is a growing number of possibilities for the Bears to make something happen. And if Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy truly have ownership’s blessing to cut a deal for a potential franchise quarterback, then by all means, go get ’em.