At the time that I am writing this, I have no idea who will be coaching the Bears in 2024, but I’m fairly sure that Ryan Poles will be the general manager. It doesn’t matter, really. I have a one-step plan for the Chicago Bears. I admit that this plan is not really rational so much as it is a manifestation of the frustrations of the last several years. However, here is my proposal for how Ryan Poles should approach the problems in front of him.
Step 1: Use the draft to build an offensive line that is a temple to the football gods
Step 1a. Trade down from #1 to whatever spot allows Chicago to stay in the Top 10 while also picking up additional high-value picks. By preference, this would be down to around #4 or #5, where the team should be able to pick up a second-round pick and a future first-round pick. If it needs to be lower, so be it. If a team pays something comparable to move up from closer, even better.
Step 1b. Spend the highest pick available at this point to draft a new quarterback unless Olumuyiwa Fashanu is still available (then draft Fashanu and change the plan for 3c). To be clear, this young man (probably Daniels at this point) does not see a live game start until after the bye. I don’t care if Tyson Bagent’s dad has to start instead. The only exception is if the Bears are somehow winning by three scores and the other team has already pulled their starting defense, but I’d prefer it if his first start came in 2025.
Step 1c. Draft the highest-rated offensive lineman left on the board with Chicago’s native pick, if Fashanu was drafted with the higher pick, then this is where a quarterback is taken (probably Nix or if he comes out McCarthy at this point).
Step 1d. That new second-round pick? Draft the highest-rated offensive lineman left on the board. This might be an overdraft, but please see the questions below for my response (key phrase “Jay Cutler”).
Step 1e. Trade Chicago’s third-round pick and the Carolina Panthers’ 2025 second-round pick to get back into the second round and draft the highest-rated offensive lineman left on the board again. Don’t like it? That’s why Chicago picked up an extra first by trading down, but don’t get attached to the idea that it’s for anything flashy.
Step 1f. Poles can do whatever he feels like with the two fourth-rounders and the fifth-rounder, unless using them will help leverage one of the trades mentioned above.
Step 1g. Does any Bears quarterback’s jersey ever get dirty in the 2024 season? Yes? Then Chicago should spend at least two of the two first-round picks in 2025 investing in the offensive line again. This should mean that by the time the new quarterback starts, he has four first-round draft picks and two second-round draft picks available for his five offensive linemen.
Anticipated questions and their answers:
- What about the defense? Jay Cutler said it best. Write Jaylon Johnson a check, though.
- What about receivers? They don’t matter a lot when the quarterback can’t stay upright long enough to throw to them, but that’s what free agency is for.
- What about running back? I want the offensive line to be so good that Trenton Gill can get 3.5 yards per carry behind it. It’ll sort itself out.
- What about the head coach? He’s welcome to stay out of the way while the plan is implemented.
- What if it’s Harbaugh? See #1 and cross-reference #4
- What about Justin Fields? He can stay for a year as cover for the new guy. If some team wants to trade a starter-level offensive lineman for him, I will drive him to the airport. I’ll even pick up Dunkin’ for him before I pick him up. Maybe he can pull a Mayfield and have some success on another team.