There are still nearly three months to go until the NFL Draft, but already the rumor mill is churning at full power. The Chicago Bears have the #1 pick and have been linked to USC quarterback Caleb Williams, though recent developments around the league and the presence of Justin Fields have left some intrigue into which direction Chicago will choose to go.
The Bears have a multitude of options at their disposal. They could commit to Justin Fields and trade down with any number of teams that would jump at the chance to draft Williams, one of the most hyped quarterback prospects to come along in years. This could net an unprecedented return that they could use to build around Fields, or even a rookie drafted later, such as Bo Nix or Michael Penix Jr.
Chicago could trade down one spot with the Washington Commanders, who just hired Williams' college offensive coach, Kliff Kingsbury, to the offensive coordinator position, and draft Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels as their new quarterback of the future.
They could also keep it simple, draft Williams, and trade Fields for draft capital or another player. This is something that Bears fans have had on their radar since early in the season.
ESPN Senior NFL Insider Adam Schefter appeared on The Pat McAfee Show on Monday to share what he's heard around the league regarding the top pick, and if you're a fan of Occam's Razor, you'll like what he had to say.
Most people around the NFL believe the Bears will draft Caleb Williams and trade Justin Fields
“There are a few issues with this," said Schefter, h/t Jacob Infante of Windy City Gridiron. "Number one, are the Bears going to be willing to move on from taking Caleb Williams, which I believe seems to be the widespread consensus around the league: that Caleb Williams will be the No. 1 pick. And if they ARE willing to move on from him, then you have to like Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels enough — or Justin Fields.”
“But again, the feeling around the league seems to be that they’ll wind up trading Justin. Whether or not they do, we’ll see, but that seems to be the feeling.”
This move certainly makes sense on a number of levels. Williams has been compared to Patrick Mahomes due to his creativity and arm talent, and even as the No. 1 pick, his contract wouldn't approach what would be required to keep Fields long-term. The Bears could expect a solid pick in return for Fields, and they still hold the No. 9 overall selection to further supplement their young roster.
Fields has shown flashes of being the solution in Chicago, but he's never been able to fully put it together. Whether he still could be a franchise quarterback or not is something we won't find out until he takes the field again, whether it's for the Bears or someone else.
Bears fans have become amateur sleuths as they try to parse every move Bears general manager Ryan Poles makes, every word he says in press conferences, and every signal, however small, they've read into Williams' behavior (such as congratulating Kingsbury on getting the Commanders OC job). Until either Fields or the pick is traded though, it's all speculation, and interviews like this one with Schefter, however circumstantial, are as close as the Chicago faithful will get to proof for the time being. For now, the rumor mill will keep cranking.