How About the Falcons as a Bears Trade Partner?

By virtue of owning the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears can dictate where things go on draft weekend. And so long as there are a bunch of teams looking for a franchise quarterback, the Bears figure to be in an advantageous position.

With Justin Fields in the fold, Chicago doesn’t have a need. And with the mere possibility of the Bears dangling Fields in trade offers (if only to put up the illusion and create a market for teams wanting to trade for the first pick), second-year GM Ryan Poles is sitting pretty. The Bears are in a good place. But just know things could get better.

For instance, we already know that a trade market is beginning to develop. We can start with the Colts, a team whose GM said he’d do “whatever it takes” to get a quarterback this offseason. The fact their owner has shared a public display of affection for top QB prospect Bryce Young further also only amplifies the noise. During January’s Senior Bowl, NFL Network insider Daniel Jeremiah name-checked the Texans, Raiders, and Panthers (along with the Colts) as QB-needy teams on the hunt for help. It’s early, to be sure. Keep in mind that the NFL Draft is 63 days away. But that there is already a market for teams that could be angling to trade up is encouraging.

And to think, others could be lurking.

The Athletic’s NFL beat writers put together a mock draft that features the Bears making *TWO* trades. A double trade-back isn’t a foreign concept to us, but one of the teams this mock draft offers up as a trade partner took me by surprise.

How about the Atlanta Falcons as a team that could find its way to being in the mix for a trade?

Josh Kendall’s explanation to Adam Jahns earlier in the week made me do a double-take:

We haven’t seen the current Falcons executive branch — general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith — take any big swings yet, and their public stance has always been that slow and steady wins more races (and games). Atlanta also has a safety net it seems to feel very comfortable with in quarterback Desmond Ridder, the No. 74 pick in 2022 who started the final four games last season. This means the Falcons could negotiate from a position of some strength if Smith has goo-goo eyes for one of the quarterbacks.

Imagine Falcons front office executive Ryan Pace nudging his new boss to dial up Halas Hall and do business with his former employer. Wouldn’t that be a fun storyline on draft night? The organization Pace works for swinging for the fences on draft night would also be so on brand. Wouldn’t it?

Well, that is exactly how it shakes out in this mock draft. It starts with the Bears moving back from No. 1 to No. 4 in a deal with the Colts. But things then turn again when Chicago moves back for a second time, this time with the Falcons. Atlanta owns the eighth pick, which feels like a significant step backward from where the Bears were originally picking. But the draft capital acquired in a pair of trades should be enough to set up Poles for the future.

Speaking of which, this is what The Athletic has in mind in terms of what the Bears would net in a trade:

  • FROM THE COLTS: The 4th, 36th, and 165th overall picks in the 2023 NFL Draft *PLUS* Indy’s 2024 first-round pick.
  • FROM THE FALCONS: The 8th and 45th picks in the 2023 NFL Draft *PLUS* Atlanta’s 2024 second-rounder.
  • It is an intriguing haul, to be sure. And it would leave the Bears with the following draft picks after the dust settles:

  • Round 1, Pick 8
  • Round 2, Pick 36 (via mock trade with Indy)
  • Round 2, Pick 45 (via mock trade with ATL)
  • Round 2, Pick 54 (via the Roquan Smith trade)
  • Round 3, Pick 65
  • Round 4, Pick 104
  • Round 4, Pick 134 (via the Robert Quinn trade)
  • Round 5, Pick 138
  • Round 5, Pick 151 (via the Patriots by way of the Quinn trade)
  • Round 5, Pick 165, Round (via mock trade with Colts)
  • Round 7, Pick 221
  • The Bears ending up with 11 picks in the upcoming draft would be a best-case scenario for a team that desperately needs depth as much as it does high-end talent. Sure, it would sting a little to be knocked out of range to take Georgia DT Jalen Carter (who goes to the Falcons in this mock draft with the 4th pick). Some might also look at trading back that far as counterproductive. But maybe this is a draft where there is value in volume.

    At a minimum, I love that we are adding teams to the mix, particularly one that folks aren’t expecting. The more teams that are rumored to be in on wanting to do business with the Bears, the better off Poles will be. We thought Poles was a magician in creating all those Day 3 picks out of nothing while running his first NFL Draft. If he can pull off this heist, it could be an all-timer.

    written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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