Bears' Top Trade Candidates Ahead of 2021 Training Camp

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IJune 21, 2021

Bears' Top Trade Candidates Ahead of 2021 Training Camp

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Over the offseason, the Chicago Bears roster has undergone some major changes. But things are far from finalized, and more moves may still be on the way for the franchise.

    As the Bears look to make the playoffs for the third time in four years in 2021—and then try to win their first postseason game since the 2010 season—they have made some key additions to better the team. Several of those also came with Chicago's long-term future in mind.

    One way the Bears could continue to strive for sustained success is by exploring the trade market before the start of training camp arrives in July. There are some players who may not be needed in 2021, or who have large contracts, and could bring back a decent return in a deal.

    Here's a look at three players who could be trade candidates for the Bears later this summer.

Nick Foles, QB

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Andy Dalton appears to be the Bears' starting quarterback for Week 1. Justin Fields, who is entering his rookie season, is the franchise's quarterback of the future. That leaves Foles, a former Super Bowl MVP, as the third QB on Chicago's depth chart.

    After getting traded to the Bears in March 2020, Foles was limited to nine games in his first season with the team. He passed for 1,852 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions, and although he started seven games, Mitchell Trubisky ended the year as Chicago's quarterback.

    Since then, the Bears have added both Dalton and Fields, which leaves Foles unlikely to get on to the field in 2021. So it probably isn't worth it for Chicago to pay the 32-year-old a guaranteed $4 million, as it could clear that cap space and potentially add to another position of need ahead of the season.

    Earlier in June, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported that there was a "clear connection" between Foles and the New York Jets. Perhaps that will lead to Foles joining his sixth NFL franchise ahead of his ninth season in the league.

Anthony Miller, WR

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    In early April, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the Bears had been discussing potential trades involving Miller, who has spent his first three seasons with the team. The 26-year-old wide receiver has been a bit inconsistent, and perhaps both sides could have benefited from a fresh start.

    However, nothing materialized on the trade front, so Miller remains on Chicago's roster at this point. But the Bears could re-enter negotiations and try to move him, considering he's set to become a free agent after the season and may not be returning to Chicago anyway.

    Last season, Miller had 49 receptions for 485 yards and two touchdowns in 16 games. He had 28 or fewer receiving yards in six of his final seven games in 2020.

    The Bears added free agents Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd to a receiving corps that will be led by Allen Robinson II and Darnell Mooney. Miller could also factor into that mix, unless Chicago decides the best move is to trade him before he hits free agency.

Akiem Hicks, DE

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Although Hicks is set to become a free agent after the 2021 season, the Bears may want to move the 31-year-old defensive end before then. He's set to earn $10.5 million during the upcoming season, so Chicago could benefit from getting rid of his contract and utilizing that cap space elsewhere.

    Hicks, a nine-year NFL veteran, has spent the past five seasons with the Bears after signing with the team as a free agent ahead of the 2016 campaign. Last year, he had 49 tackles, 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery in 15 games, all of which he started.

    Fowler reported earlier in June that Hicks and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, had been allowed to "gauge trade interest," but that has not yet led to a deal. Fowler noted that things could "heat up closer to training camp."

    Considering Hicks is a former Pro Bowler who has proved he can still produce at a high level and contribute to a team's pass rush, some teams could be interested in acquiring him. So maybe he'll no longer be in Chicago by the time Week 1 of the 2021 season arrives.

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