Pictures of Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy attending the pro day for Justin Fields made social media rounds Wednesday. It re-fueled speculation that the Bears could try to trade up to get their quarterback of the future. It’s a notion that was thought to be moot. All the trades already made at the top of the NFL Draft had everyone assuming the order.
But with the Atlanta Falcons announcing they’re open for business with the fourth-overall pick and the Carolina Panthers addressing their quarterback situation with Sam Darnold, not only is there a path to one of the top passers, there’s less competition as only the New England Patriots are believed to be interested in moving up (though we have heard they aren’t interested in the two expected to be available).
Was Bears head coach Matt Nagy attending Justin Fields’ pro day Just a Smokescreen?
In the Way
New England is just their only competition in regards to a trade. The Denver Broncos and Washington Football Team both loom as potential landing spots for quarterbacks. The Bears will certainly have to move ahead of them to secure one. That’s why they need to be on the phone with Carolina right now for the eighth overall pick.
The wild card in all of this is the Detroit Lions at sixth overall. They could throw off the order if they, like most of the rest of the NFL, aren’t sold on Jared Goff. But they’ve given no indication he won’t at least have a shot to prove himself.
It shouldn’t go unnoticed that Nagy is present either. We all know the Bears wound up with Mitchell Trubisky in part because Ryan Pace didn’t tell John Fox, who wanted Deshaun Watson, he was taking a quarterback at all let alone which one. Nagy was integral in the selection process that resulted in the Chiefs drafting Patrick Mahomes.
That’s why this is probably the most encouraging development all off-season. From rumors over established quarterbacks that always seemed more fantasy than reality to sending three year’s worth of first-round picks for the fourth or fifth-best quarterback, it just all seemed too far-fetched. But Carolina, in particular, combined with the expected slide of Fields could be the perfect storm.
Chicago would still be trading multiple first-rounders, make no mistake about that. But as Bill Zimmerman shared on Twitter, the Bears could conceivably get up to fifth overall with an offer of the 20th pick along with this year’s second and third-round picks and next year’s first.
The question, then, becomes why trade up now when just a few weeks ago, the thought was they should stand pat and build out the rest of the roster? The answer is simple: Justin Fields is that good. In fact, that piece was written under the assumption that San Francisco traded up for his services but the buzz around them and Mac Jones won’t go away.
Of course, this could all just be another smokescreen. This is the time of year where everything you hear likely means the opposite and what you see may be totally irrelevant. That’s totally possible here. There are the factors mentioned above keeping the Bears from a top passer in this year’s NFL Draft.
This type of blatant visibility isn’t accidental. Yes, they have been represented at just about every pro day worth noting. But it hasn’t been Nagy, who was apparently solo, so prominent as he and 49ers head coach Kyle Shannahan were in attendance. Who knows, maybe he was there to get a feel on Shannahan’s true interest in Fields to try and predict his slide.
The Bears speculated interest in Justin Fields is about as much “something” as any of the previous stories around the Bears this offseason. Certainly more feasible than trading for Wilson and, now, more so than making the trade many assumed you’d have to to get your man at quarterback. Now, do they pull the trigger?
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