Bears trade options: Projecting Chicago’s return for Justin Fields vs. trading No. 1 pick in 2023 NFL Draft

Justin Fields

As the NFL Draft approaches, the Chicago Bears are on the clock. And all eyes are on them as the question keeps popping up: Will the Bears trade No. 1?

The answer almost inevitably seems to be yes. But Justin Fields’ doubters continue to wonder if it behooves the Bears to postpone the 2021 11th overall winner instead. Fields, who threw for 17 touchdowns and rushed for eight more, has the potential to be a quarterback of the future. But the Bears undoubtedly want to be sure they head into a 2023 season that will be crucial to their rebuild.

The Bears are reportedly signed to Fields for next season. But since Bryce Young and CJ Stroud remain at the top of most big boards, they will have admirers to trade #1 with. What’s more, they could still land a top pick in this year’s draft with some of these applicants.

Fields has a lot of room for improvement. The problem for the Bears is that the roster does, too. Every Fields stat from the last year comes with the caveat that he had an offensive line that was decent last year but is in transition and a receiving corps led by Darnell Mooney.

MORE: Would the Bears really swap Justin Fields to pick Bryce Young?

With that in mind, the Bears can get more premium picks for No. 1 in this year’s draft. Here’s a look at the kind of compensation you can expect for Fields compared to the No. 1 overall pick of 2023.

Justin Fields

Justin Fields Statistics

Fields had an incredible rushing season in 2022, but his passing stats undeniably left a lot to be desired.

StatIn totalRank among QBs
Comp %60.431
Past farms2,24226
TDs exist17T-16
INT’s11T-10
passer rating85.225
QBR53.917
meters per attempt7.1T-15
Frenzied courtyards1.1431
Rush TDs8th2

While part of that is clearly a surrounding cast that hasn’t been up to speed over the last season, Fields has work to do to throw the ball. However, it’s difficult to rate a player whose leading receiver last year was his close finish, who finished the year with just 50 catches.

Justin Fields Trade Compensation

There is no one-to-one comparison for bear trading spaces. While his potential is being seen, Fields is still not a sure thing and teams may hesitate to trade the farm for a quarterback still in development.

That being said, there’s a huge advantage for Fields, who was electrified all along the track last season. He’s headed in the right direction and a better cast would no doubt do wonders for him. Most importantly, a team that would trade for Fields would get up to three years of relatively cheap exclusivity with their fifth-year option.

MORE: Bears’ best trading options: Colts, Panthers & Texans stand out

An imperfect comparison for a trade like Justin Fields’ is that of Josh Rosen, who completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 starts as a rookie in 2018 with the Cardinals before losing a second to the Dolphins traded fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft.

However, Rosen traded after Kyler Murray was selected, limiting the Cardinals’ leverage. With what Fields has shown and the possibility of getting Young or Stroud, Fields’ cost should be higher.

Predicted Trade Value: A first round pick and a Day 3 (4th or 5th)

Potential admirers: Jets, Commander, Giants

The bears’ trading fields would be close to unprecedented, so planning a package for him is difficult. A first round and day 2 (2nd or 3rd round) pick would probably be too rich for most teams, especially in this QB tier. But if a team is madly in love with Fields, chances are they’ll decide to stretch and strike a deal.

Teams in the middle to the end of the first round are most likely to play for fields. That could include the Jets (No. 13), Commanders (No. 16) or even Giants (No. 26) if negotiations with Daniel Jones falter. While it’s not out of the question that a team like the Raiders, Panthers, or Falcons will play for Fields, the price of their election compensation would have to be right and could result in the Bears sweetening the pot in some way.

MORE: NFL Mock Draft 2023, 2-round edition

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#1 Pick Trade Compensation

It’s a bit easier to figure out what the Bears might get for the #1 overall standings, as there’s clearer precedent for that.

With #1, teams still get guaranteed players. The difference is that ultimately they want the player. It would mean skipping the Texans and landing whoever they see as the best QB in the draft for a QB-needy team.

The best contender in this case is clearly the Colts, who would cut a rival off at the knees while having their choice of quarterback. Additionally, Colts owner Jim Irsay boasts with Alabama QB Bryce Young. His admiration for the QB coupled with the fact that Young is unlikely to be available to them, even at No. 4, could make all the difference in Indy.

The most recent No. 1 trade was in 2016, when the Rams traded their first, two second, and third picks in the 2016 draft and their first and third picks in 2017 for the Titans’ first overall, fourth-round, and sixth-round picks. The Rams took Jared Goff with that pick. The Rams naturally picked eighth in that draft.

Each trading scenario for the overall #1 will look different, but the assumption should be that whoever the bears will trade also needs a top 10 pick.

MORE: CJ Stroud tells Bears to stay with Justin Fields: ‘This is his team’

Predicted Trade Value: One top 10 pick, one day 2 pick, two future first-round picks

Potential suitors: Texans, Colts, Falcons, Panthers

Because draft picks are the remarkably desirable commodities they are, trading for the #1 overall pick becomes difficult. The Cardinals will most likely sit in 3rd place (if it’s up to them they might want to trade back), with Kyler Murray already locked in. But beyond that, there are several teams that could be fighting for Young or Stroud.

That price may seem unreasonable, and it’s possible it is. But if any of the teams listed above – three of which have new head coaches this year – find sustained success with Young or Stroud, that will be the prize.

Dave Gallo

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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