With no first or second round picks thanks to the Jay Cutler and Gaines Adams deals, getting an impact rookie will be challenging, but not impossible. The Bears need to find a way to get into the first or second round, and then of course, not whiff on the picks. The Bears currently have one pick in the third through seventh rounds for a total of five picks. As far as I can tell the most picks you can start draft day with is ten, but you can wheel and deal once the draft starts to get as many as you want. The Bears need to do what ever they can to get ten draft choices before draft day in order to maximize their dealing capabilities.
Looking over the Bears roster you'll see plenty of players under contract that shouldn't be a part of their future. Some players will have to be cut, but some have enough value to pick up a late round pick. Jerry Angelo (if he's still the GM this off season) has to deal away some dead weight. Just remember, making trades in the NFL isn't like other sports, player movement through trades just doesn't happen that often, but Angelo will have to thoroughly explore all possibilities. And the biggest thing he must consider is he may be drafting for the last time in Chicago, so if the opportunity arises use some of the 2011 draft choices to help get some picks in 2010.
One thing to keep in mind when dealing away some of your depth is the special teams will suffer. But with Dave Toub coordinating that phase of the team it's a chance you have to take. I'll speculate on some possible moves the Bears could make.
A) Nathan Vasher has a big money deal, but could be moved because he has had some past success. All you need is one GM to think a change of scenery could revive his career. Someone will want a former Pro Bowl corner, and a change just may do him good. Depending on the timing of the deal you could possibly get a fifth or sixth round pick for him. If the Bears could squeak out a few reps at free safety for the "Interceptor" it could help his trade value or if he fills in adequately at corner for a game or two they'll see his value go up, maybe as high as a fourth round pick.
B) I know the Bears were burned by trading away a safety a few years ago in Chris Harris, but it's clear the Bears are moving forward with Al Afalava as the strong safety. He outplayed Kevin Payne to win the job, but Payne has starting experience on his resume. He has some value around the league. The Bears seem comfortable with Craig Steltz backing up SS, so moving Payne makes sense right now. Depending on team needs this off season the Bears might end up with as high as a fifth round pick for him.
C) With Greg Olsen winning the starting tight end job from Desmond Clark, and with the emergence of Kellen Davis as a serviceable back up, Des Clark is expendable. Neither Olsen or Davis can block as well as Clark, but blocking is something they can improve on. Remember Clark was a wide receiver at Wake Forest and worked to become a better than average blocker. You need your reserve tight ends to be core special teamers and Clark doesn't fit that. If he fully recovers from this years injuries and finishes strong he might bring you a fourth round pick. Besides this season, he's been a reliable starting tight end for the Bears, and even though Clark is an 11 year vet he could be a starter for another team.
D) Garrett Wolfe, currently on IR because of a lacerated kidney, is expected to be ready for full participation come this off season. It should be with another team. For what ever reason the Bears have never been able to find a way to fit him into the game plan. He's excelled on special teams the last couple years and in his limited time with the ball in his hands this year he's been ok. With Jones expected back next year in some role and Khalil Bell able to fill the special teams spot of Wolfe, the Bears need to float Wolfe's name out there to gauge his value. At most I think they could get a fifth round pick for him, but their probably more likely to get a sixth.
The next two players I'll throw out there I really can't see traded, but you never know. Trading away players of their stature is difficult because one side will never feel truly compensated in any deals that may get to the table.
E) A popular name that is mentioned in trade speculation by many fans is Tommie Harris. With his production coming no where near his contract, moving him could be next to impossible. He has however, started playing better of late. Here's the question to ponder; If Harris is 100% and playing like the Tommie of old do you still want to trade him? If he has a strong finish to the year and they decide he isn't worth the risk, they could get a third (maybe a second) round pick for him if the right situation arises.
F) Before the recent drama surrounding Brian Urlacher I never would have even considered trading him away. But with him dropping those quotes for the Yahoo Sports piece, I could see him moved. Now finding someone that would want to take on that contract is another thing entirely. With his recent injury history teams may shy away from him, but there will be a few organizations that'll show interest. If his wrist heals properly, and all indications are that it will, he could fetch as high as a second round pick.
* Of course any of these players and any future draft choices could be used to pick up a legit number one wide receiver. In that case, picking up a guy like Brandon Marshall or Anquan Boldin would trump any plans I touched on above.
But if the Bears do stockpile lower round picks they'll then need to be used to move up in the draft, something Jerry Angelo hasn't done much of in the past. Using an NFL Draft Pick Value Chart, one of which every GM in the league uses, you can see the points needed to move up in the draft. If you've never seen the chart go take a look so what I say next makes sense (well... I'll try and make sense).
There are always teams looking to trade down, whether to save on the first round draft pick contract or because of how the draft is falling they realize "their guy" will be available later. The Bears would need between 600-900 points to get into the bottom half of round one. Many times the team trading up will have to overpay to make the move. I won't take into consideration any picks potentially obtained by moving Harris or Urlacher (like I said, it's unlikely they'll be moved).
OK, so in the scenarios outlined above the Bears would have their own 3rd-7th round picks plus two 4's a 5 and a 6. I'll look at some draft day deals that could move them into day 1 (1st round) or day 2 (2nd and 3rd round) of the 2010 NFL Draft.
1) The three 4th round picks (approximately worth 200 points) could get them into the 3rd round.
2) They Bears could package their third and fourth round picks (about 300 pts.) and move into the lower end of round two.
3) To get into the latter part of the 2010 1st round they could always move their '11 #1 pick and a handful of late '10 picks. There seems to always be a team picking in the late 1st round that is looking to get out of that pick.
4) If the Bears finish 10th worst this year their 3rd round pick (220 pts.), their 4th round pick (82 pts.), and their 5th round pick (37 pts.) could move them up to the bottom third of the 2nd round. That 2nd plus their 2011 2nd could get them into the 2010 1st round.
5) We'll call this the "Ditka Deal"; If the Bears trade every single one of their 2010 picks, their 3rd-7th (375 pts.), plus their 4 picks acquired in my moves above (approximately 200 points), they could jump up near the top of the 2nd round.
You can see how a creative GM could work the phones to move up. All you need is a willing partner and the guts to pull the trigger on numerous deals. With day 1 of the draft limited to the 1st round this year there will be more time to work the phones before day 2 and the 2nd and 3rd rounds.