Bears Trade Rumors: Chicago 'Badly' Wants to Move Up from No. 20 Draft Pick

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2021

FILE - In this July 26, 2019, file photo, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy, right, talks with general manager Ryan Pace during NFL football training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill. The Bears and every other team around the NFL are staring at a season like no other because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Veterans started reporting to camps this week. But instead of jumping right into the grind, they're taking a slower approach  (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)
Nam Huh/Associated Press

The Chicago Bears are reportedly exploring trades to potentially move up from the No. 20 overall pick in Thursday's first round of the 2021 NFL draft.

CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones reported the Bears "badly" want to move up in the draft order, with their eye likely on one of the class' top quarterback prospects.

It's already been an offseason of change at the NFL's most important position for Chicago.

Mitchell Trubisky, the team's second overall pick in the 2017 draft, was allowed to leave in free agency, and he signed with the Buffalo Bills. Andy Dalton was brought in as the new projected starter, though fellow veteran Nick Foles remains on the roster and could compete for the top spot on the depth chart.

Making a blockbuster trade to acquire a higher pick in order to grab a quarterback prospect would create further questions about how the team plans to handle the position in 2021.

Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and BYU's Zach Wilson are the presumptive first two picks of the draft to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively. There's less certainty about the other three high-end signal-callers: Ohio State's Justin Fields, North Dakota State's Trey Lance and Alabama's Mac Jones.

A lot will depend on what the San Francisco 49ers do with the third pick. They've been heavily linked to Jones, the most NFL-ready QB of the trio. That would leave the more upside-oriented Fields and Lance available, who could be attractive to a team like the Bears.

They could allow Dalton and Foles to compete for the job during the upcoming season and, depending on how the year goes, turn the offense over to the draftee either late in his rookie year or in 2022.

That's a lot of variables, however, and Chicago probably wouldn't want to send out the assets necessary to move up unless one of its preferred quarterbacks is available, so a deal isn't likely before the draft starts to play out.

Bears general manager Ryan Pace didn't tip his hand in a predraft press conference Tuesday.

"As an organization, we've got to be ready for every single scenario," Pace said. "However this thing plays out, however this board falls, that's where all the preparation comes into play. And I feel like we're in that spot—whether it's trading up, staying put, trading back—all those things are in play for us."

Even if Chicago doesn't trade up for a quarterback, it'll likely take a developmental signal-caller in the middle rounds for added depth.