Bears Could Trade No. 1 Pick Sooner Than Expected, Targeting Players (Not Just Picks) in Return

The 2023 NFL Draft opens its doors in 58 days. And as of right now, the Chicago Bears hold the No. 1 overall pick. But that might not be the case when the calendar turns to April 27.

Heck, it might not even be the case when the new league year begins on March 15.

In addressing the media today at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Bears GM Ryan Poles opened the door to the possibility of the team trading the pick sooner, rather than later. This tweet from ESPN’s Courtney Cronin lays out a new path for Poles:

Oh, my! There is so much good stuff in just one tweet. Timing, of course. But particularly the possibility of acquiring players as part of trading the first overall pick.

We’ve been longing for the Bears to wield the No. 1 pick to trade back and take in a whole bunch of draft capital. However, getting that *AND* a player (or players) as part of the deal would be that much sweeter. Maybe that comes in the form of the Bears taking on a high-salary player as part of the process. Or perhaps it looks like the Bears flipping picks acquired in a trade to another team for a player. Whatever it is, I like that Poles has a new option to throw around in trade discussions.

Now that I’m thinking about it more, there truly are benefits to moving the pick before March 15. Firstly, creating an artificial deadline could nudge teams toward being more aggressive in their conversations. Merely hinting at the possibility of trading the pick before free agency starts could add urgency to some of these trade discussions. Suggesting that a deal could get done sooner (and not later) is a different way to go about publicly saying “step those offers up” without explicitly saying those words. Additionally, trading the pick ahead of the new league year’s beginning could give the Bears a sense of clarity regarding how to best maneuver through the rest of the offseason. Having a plan is good. But having a plan and a sense of direction (plus a bunch of picks) would be even better.

We’ve got a ways to go before the Bears go on the clock with the first overall pick. Then again, at this rate, that pick might not be theirs by the time draft day rolls around.

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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