Could the Steelers Seek a Trade-Up with the Bears to Draft Jalen Carter!?
Throughout the offseason — from when the No. 1 overall pick, all the way to No. 9 — there has been steady smoke connecting the Chicago Bears to Jalen Carter in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. There has also been some recent buzz about the Bears trading out from the ninth pick in the draft and moving back if the price is right.
So, what happens when you put the two together?
Naturally, whispers emerging of the Bears and Steelers discussing a pick swap so Pittsburgh can take Carter.
This one-liner in Peter King’s Football Morning in America column made me turn my head:
Best rumor of the week: Steelers trading up from 17 to nine if Carter’s there. There could not be a more perfect coach for Carter than Mike Tomlin.
Tomlin is generally regarded as one of the best coaches in football. And with a résumé that has a Super Bowl title and no losing seasons, I can’t build much of an argument against the idea that Carter and Tomlin make a nice fit. Although, I’d make a case for Matt Eberflus, too. A defensive-leaning coach with the gravitas to reach across to the offensive side of the ball as a rookie head coach might have what it takes to steer Carter in the right direction. Just saying. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere.
Here’s the thing about a Steelers trade-up for Carter: If Carter is available when the Bears go on the clock with pick No. 9, then I think it might take a mega-haul to move off that pick. Something preposterous. Maybe a deal fit for a king. Because there has just been way too much smoke surrounding the Bears and Carter to make me think they wouldn’t sprint like Justin Fields when he has nothing like green grass ahead of him to turn in the pick and announce Carter as the newest member of the Bears.
Then again, I love the idea of trading back and accumulating picks. The Bears need as many as they can get their hands on as they continue rebuilding their team. HOWEVA, it would take a lot for me to move out of a slot to take Carter. It took A TON for Poles to slide back out of a spot to take the best quarterback prospect in this class. I imagine it would take a hefty return in order for him to move back again and pass on a player once seen as the consensus top non-QB player in this draft. And it should. Full stop.
A closing thought: It wouldn’t surprise me if we start hearing an up-tick in trade rumors. Because even though these draft-day deals seem like a spur-of-the-moment thing, the groundwork tends to be laid in the weeks ahead of the draft. I imagine GMs are pitching each other like “If Player X is available when you’re on the clock, then we’ll give you X, Y, and Z in order to move up” or “If Player Y goes before we go on the clock, then we’re willing to move back for Price Z.” So let’s keep our eyes open for trade rumors that might have legs on draft day in 10 days.\