Every year, we see a range of draft trades, from the kind of truly impactful buzzy first round ones we all like to speculate about in advance of the thing, down to the very minor trade up ten spots to get your guy, torching future draft capital in the process.
There are also veteran deals, too, and that’s what PFF got into today with 15 “realistic trade predictions” involving veterans this year in the draft. The Chicago Bears were involved in a full 20% of those deals, so I wanted to share and discuss, while also urging you to check out the piece overall in advance of the draft. It’s just fun to think about this side of the game, especially in a very tight cap year.
For the Bears, if they wind up taking a quarterback – first round or otherwise – it’s entirely possible they’ll also be looking to move out back-up Nick Foles. A deal would open up a little bit of cap space for this year, and also get them out of a nearly $4 million cap hit for 2022 if they waited to let him go after this season.
Of course, as you might expect, for a guy who came in with the Bears, didn’t shine, and eventually got re-replaced by the guy he replaced (a guy who, himself, could barely even get a modest deal as a back-up in free agency), the trade return is not substantial. PFF suggests the Bears could send Foles to the Jets for a 2022 6th rounder:
The current Jets depth chart at quarterback behind the presumed No. 2 overall pick, quarterback Zach Wilson, is 2020 fourth-round quarterback James Morgan and 2018 fifth-round quarterback Mike White — neither of whom has taken an NFL snap. Wilson will benefit tremendously from a seasoned veteran mentor in Foles, and after the Sam Darnold saga, New York must do everything in its power to create a strong infrastructure for Wilson’s growth.
Sensible enough, and I highly doubt any Bears fans would beef with a move like that, even if the return was minimal. Again, moving Foles during the draft is probably predicated on the Bears taking a quarterback, so there’s that element, too. I was fine with the shot the Bears took on Foles last year given all the context, but with Andy Dalton in the fold for a year, and a longer-term plan desperately needed, I don’t really see a desperate need to keep Foles around this year. And if Ryan Pace’s history with Jets GM (and former Bears front office co-worker) Joe Douglas helps push things along, then it’s a bonus.
Then there’s the trade everyone has been expecting for a while already: wide receiver Anthony Miller out the door for a later-round pick. In this case, PFF says it’s a 2021 6th rounder from the Eagles. You’d hope Miller could net more given the talent and the upside (a 4th seems to me like the absolute ceiling), but let’s be honest – there’s a reason the Bears are reportedly ready to move on. I’m not saying a high 6th is the best the Bears could hope for, but it might be the best they can get when the rubber meets the road.
Moving Miller doesn’t save much cap space – just $1.7 million – but the Bears have no room right now to actually sign their draft picks, so they have to do something one way or another anyway.
Interesting note here from PFF on why the Eagles might want to make the deal:
The Eagles are no stranger to taking on a slot receiver in the final year of their contract and playing the compensatory pick game. They did exactly that with Golden Tate back in 2018. Philadelphia traded their 2019 third-round pick to Detroit and then recouped a fourth-round compensatory pick in 2020, effectively netting out relatively even when all was said and done.
This isn’t to say that in this hypothetical scenario Philadelphia has zero interest in extending Anthony Miller were he to put up a strong 2021 campaign, but it demonstrates the team’s willingness to take a flier on a guy with the worst-case scenario being that they net out even in the long run. In fact, the Eagles also did just that in a trade with the Chicago Bears when they sent a 2020 sixth-round pick for running back Jordan Howard, as they now have a compensatory 2021 sixth-round pick following his signing in Miami last offseason.
Would be nice for the Eagles if they could pull it off again, but I doubt the Bears are willing to take the same risk (i.e., that Miller performs so well that he parlays the year into a nice contract netting them a comp pick better than the 6th round). Let the Eagles or some other team take that chance if you could get a decent pick in hand right now. Again, a high 6th? Debatable. But if a team is offering a 4th or even a 5th this year, it’s probably time for the Bears to jump.
Lastly on the Bears front, it’s an acquisition deal, with the Bears picking up right tackle Tytus Howard from the Texans for a 2022 third rounder. Howard, 25 in May, is a former first rounder who missed time in his rookie year in 2019 with a broken hand, and then missed the end of the season last year with a concussion. The Texans, under new leadership, are cleaning house and might just want to strip this thing down to the bones.
In Howard, the Bears would get two years at just $3.8 million guaranteed, filling a position of need cheaply, and then moving Germain Ifedi back inside where he’s much more effective. There’s a lot to like about a deal like this, even granting that the 2022 3rd could be a high third.
Check out the PFF piece for much more on these realistic deals, and the other 12 in there, including how little the 49ers could actually get for Jimmy Garoppolo.