The Chicago Bears have been approached by multiple teams about trading the No. 1 pick in this year's NFL draft, and Chicago is said to be "leaning toward" moving the pick, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The Bears own the top pick in a year when anywhere from eight to 12 teams could be looking to make a switch at quarterback,
Since the AFL/NFL merger in 1967, the No. 1 pick has been traded 12 times before the start of the draft. It last happened in 2016, when the Los Angeles Rams moved from No. 15 to No. 1 two weeks before selecting quarterback Jared Goff out of Cal. It was only the second time in the past 22 years that the No. 1 pick changed hands before the draft (the Atlanta Falcons moved up from No. 2 to draft Michael Vick first overall in 2001).
Bears general manager Ryan Poles has maintained a steady hand in his approach to upgrading the Bears' roster after the team went 3-14 last season. In January, he reaffirmed his commitment to quarterback Justin Fields, whom the Bears drafted No. 11 overall in 2021, and said he would have to be "blown away" to draft a quarterback prospect in April. Alabama's Bryce Young is expected to be the first quarterback taken.
"We have flexibility where if there's opportunities where if we can turn that into a lot of players that come in and help us, we can do that," Poles said. "If it's staying put or really being selective with certain people, we can do that as well. I know my expectation, our expectation, is that we move the needle to be more successful. We can win some of these close games and bring in guys that can impact this football team."
Quarterback-needy teams that fail to land veterans in free agency such as Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo, and potentially Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson, should they become available, could be looking closely at trading up for the top pick.