There will be no shortage of coverage surrounding the Chicago Bears this off-season, particularly with the amount of interest league-wide for their top overall pick. Everyone wants “in” with what’s set to happen at Halas Hall.
The latest developments from the combine at Indianapolis are telling. None more important than the clearest indication of GM Ryan Poles’ intent with quarterback Justin Fields. Along with some major revelations on discussions surrounding the prized number-one overall pick.
Peter King of NBC Sports recently sat down with Ryan Poles to discuss several topics. You can follow the link to the original article here.
The following paragraph, to me, carries the greatest amount of weight. This was Ryan Poles’ answer to Peter King when asked about the idea of moving Justin Fields and heading in a different direction at quarterback.
“When we started to adjust and adapt to what he did well, and he started running the ball a little bit, we saw a very unique and special ability and talent that can change the game,” Poles told me. “Now that next piece in terms of being an efficient passer is what we need to get to. I’ve been open about that. We’ve talked about it with Justin. He knows … Can he be more clear-minded when he plays, where he can just play loose because he knows where he’s gonna go with the ball? I do think there’s potential that we have something really good, and to me, you’ve got to see it through.”
Unlike what most in the national media have attempted to say, it’s been fairly clear that the Bears aren’t planning to move Justin Fields. The latest quote from Ryan Poles all but confirms that decision has been finalized. Of course, there’s always the 1% chance something wild happens with the NFL. I’m a firm believer that “wild chance” is down to 0.5% after this morning.
When the dust settles, everyone will see the plan moving forward is building around Justin Fields as much as possible. Per Ryan Poles, that strategy could include making multiple moves to accumulate as much draft capital as possible. All while seeking to stack blue-chipped players on his side of the poker table.
In the last few days, the Bears’ GM has been open about the price that’s listed for his golden ticket. NFL Insiders have reported things could be moving quickly for a deal to happen before free agency starts on March 15th. I also mentioned Ryan Poles dropped a soft deadline for the deal to be made — if including veteran players — based on his comments from a presser held last week.
However, as he’s always maintained, Ryan will be patient with his decision. He alluded to the thought he will wait until they’re on the clock at Draft Day itself if his demands aren’t met (much) sooner than that. There’s always the chance he falls in love with a player and picks them with the top pick outright.
He also knows there’s been a bidding war declared amongst teams outside of Halas Hall who are vying for the right to pick at number one overall. In the interview, Ryan Poles confirmed he’s spoken with at least three teams regarding his first-round draft pick. Where he didn’t specify who those teams were, several insiders have suggested the following teams.
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts (because Chris Ballard is willing to move heaven and earth)
- Tennessee Titans (few and far in between with actual sources)
- Atlanta Falcons
- Carolina Panthers (most connected)
- Las Vegas Raiders (may also jump in for the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes)
There is no secret that the Bears can earn a substantial haul for their top draft choice. Shoot, Ryan even hinted that he’s getting offers that include first-round picks from 2023 all the way until 2025.
“No one’s gonna rush me,” Poles said. “I know I can get a ’24 one and a ’25 one. You’re telling me for the next two years I’ll have two ones? That’s either four really good players, or if we’re cruising, we can still trade back.”
And when stacked on top of his comments from his presser last week, the price looks something like this.
- Multiple premium draft picks, to include first rounders, between 2023, ‘24, and ‘25
- Premium players either entering or still in their prime
Ryan Poles also mentioned the situation involving veteran quarterback Derek Carr potentially playing a role in negotiations for their top overall selection. With news breaking that the New Orleans Saints have reached an agreement for Derek Carr, things are truly set in motion. The uncertainty surrounding Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers could also play a role, although that wasn’t discussed in Peter King’s article. Needless to say that the price has jumped even higher, with one of the very best options already off the market.
How far Ryan Poles is willing to move down will be completely up to the size of the deal(s) offered. If he feels the price exceeds his demands significantly, he may consider pulling the trigger. That’s also if he feels there are still “blue” players to be had within that range.
The actual draft plans won’t be finalized until free agency comes and goes. One thing is for certain - the plan will start and end with putting Justin Fields in his best chance for success in Chicago. And we all should be very excited for what’s next.