Welcome to the middle of what some may call "silly speculation season" within the NFL's calendar year. And, Happy Super Bowl Sunday to all! Today marks the conclusion to the 2023-2024 season for the world's biggest professional (American) football league.
Yesterday Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported yesterday that the Chicago Bears are "more likely than not" to draft Caleb Williams at 1st overall in the upcoming draft. Also, he mentioned it would take a "historic offer" for the Bears to move off from their position of complete control over the entire process. This coincides with the popular assumption from the national-based media regarding what the Bears plan on doing this coming spring. Sounds like it's almost inevitable that Caleb Williams is a Chicago Bear, right?
Don't tell that to the Washington Commanders. Per Mike Garofolo of NFL Network the Commanders will approach the Bears about their first overall pick. He mentioned this seconds after Ian Rapoport gave his spiel about the Bears and his beliefs on what will happen in the coming weeks.
The Insiders on @NFLGameDay: The #Bears would need a historical haul to trade out of No. 1; The #Commanders are expected to look into moving up from No. 2; The #Patriots are researching the top QBs in the Draft. pic.twitter.com/C3gN5npg7j— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 11, 2024
My biggest takeaway from here is when Mike Garofolo revealed the Washington Commanders' new ownership group — particularly Magic Johnson — told new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury that they'd "do as much as we possibly can to get the quarterback that you want."
Kliff most recently was a senior analyst at USC which featured... Caleb Williams.
Kliff also has a track record of accepting jobs to places where he knows either his preferred choice as QB is already in place, or that team has a high likelihood of obtaining that player. Thus why he took the Arizona Cardinals' job in the first place dating back to 2019 and their eventual selection of Kyler Murray. At the time the Cardinals owned the first overall pick. After getting fired by the Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury eventually took the job at USC for the chance to work with Caleb Williams. This story would then take a crazy shift.
Things eventually got weird during the 2024 off-season just weeks ago. Initially, he accepted the offensive coordinator job with the Las Vegas Raiders. Then he backed out, and accepted the same job with the Washington Commanders. The Commanders currently hold the 2nd overall pick. Does all this mean it is a lock they will move heaven and earth to get Caleb Williams?
No. Far from it. Mike Garofolo did mention that, while the obvious connection exists between Kliff Kingsbury and Caleb Williams, they could also sit comfortably at #2 and take Drake Maye. This was following Ian Rapoport reiterating his story that the Bears are "likely" to take Caleb Williams, mentioning they could see him as being "special." However, to add more fun into this, he later hinted they would need to be "comfortable with (Caleb) as a person."
Then Tom Pelissero even mentioned the New England Patriots could throw their hat into the sweepstakes for the first overall pick. Currently, the Patriots sit at #3 overall and just outside the likely range for the top two quarterbacks to be taken. Ian Rapoport maintained that GM Ryan Poles would need a "historic offer" to move off their spot at #1 overall for a second consecutive year.
Over on ESPN Adam Schefter had his own views. For one, he mentioned he would be "surprised" if the Washington Commanders did indeed pull off the trade needed to obtain the rights for the first overall pick. This is largely due to the sheer size of the likely asking price — whatever that is — by Ryan Poles. Then he suggested the possibility exists that the Bears keep Justin Fields... and still draft Caleb Williams. It's doubtful if you ask me, but here's the clip from Adam.
Schefter's ESPN clip also included that he'd be surprised if the Commanders would give enough to jump to one, partly because the next QBs available are good prospects in their own right.
He also gives some more perspective on the Kingsbury hire, so check this clip out, too.
"In talking to Washington, the sense I got is that they're not inclined to give up whatever it's gonna take to get up to No. 1 for the exact reason that Carolina did go up last year. They see what it's like... I will be surprised if Washington trades up to No. 1." - Adam Schefter pic.twitter.com/7bsg9WfaMW— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) February 11, 2024
Just last year the Bears received a "historic offer" from the Carolina Panthers to obtain the first overall pick. Undoubtedly, it will take considerably more to make that happen for either the Washington Commanders or the New England Patriots. By the sound of things, the Commanders will absolutely make a hard push to get the Gonzaga College HS alum back into the D.C. area. It's up to Bears GM Ryan Poles if this even happens to begin with.