The Chicago Bears will either use the #1 pick or trade it. That is seeing things from the most simplistic perspective. Where it gets complicated is finding which team can make an offer that will compel GM Ryan Poles to move. He won’t give away the most valuable spot in the entire draft for cheap. There is no shortage of possible contenders. Every discussion starts with Houston and Indianapolis. Both teams need quarterbacks. Both sit in the top four, and they’re division rivals. This creates the perfect recipe for a bidding war.
That doesn’t mean they’re the only ones. Las Vegas is moving on from Derek Carr. Atlanta can’t be sure Desmond Ridder is their guy. Carolina is done with the Sam Darnold experiment. All three can’t be ruled out as options. The same goes for Tennessee at #11 since the Ryan Tannehill experiment is over. However, there might be one other to watch out for. A team that is hiding in plain sight.
The Seattle Seahawks.
The Chicago Bears must keep the line open to the northwest.
#1 – Position and ammunition
Seattle holds the #5 overall pick. That alone grants them perfect positioning to make a move up the board. Poles would find it appealing because it still gives him a reasonable chance to land one of the top non-QB prospects. Where it gets more interesting is that the Seahawks also have the 20th overall pick and two 2nd round picks courtesy of the Russell Wilson trade. They have all the ammunition they need to give Chicago what they want without sacrificing any future picks. One must never underestimate teams that know they can move up if they want to.
#2 – Quarterback questions
Geno Smith was easily the biggest surprise of 2023, posting the best season of his career and making the Pro Bowl. He threw for 3400 yards, 25 touchdowns, and eight interceptions through his first 13 games. Here’s the problem. He seemed to slow down the stretch, throwing seven TDs and four interceptions. Had opponents figured him out? Smith is a free agent this March and turns 33 years old in October. Initial projections suggest Seattle would have to commit around $39 million per year in a new contract. Are the Seahawks prepared to pay that kind of money to a guy who doesn’t have much of a prime left and isn’t what anybody would confuse for elite?
#3 – An aggressive GM
Lastly is the man in charge. GM John Schneider has run the Seahawks’ front office since 2010. In that time, he has developed quite a reputation for working the phones in trades. He’s not afraid to be bold. His deals for Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham, and Jamal Adams proved that much. If he gets the sense that any of these quarterbacks can be the long-term replacement for Russell Wilson, then he won’t have any qualms about coming up to get them. All the Chicago Bears would have to do is ensure they get a package they can live with. It may come down to whether 71-year-old Pete Carroll is prepared to start fresh with a rookie.