No general manager cheered top quarterback performances at the NFL Scouting Combine more than Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears.
Chicago owns the No. 1 pick in the draft for the first time since 1947 but Poles, in his second season with the franchise, has no intention of drafting any of the quarterbacks who are in high demand atop the 2023 draft in April.
Any team can have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, and Poles made the asking price crystal clear over the past week.
“I’m blessed to be able to read people,” Poles said in an interview with NBC Sports. “I can feel it. There’s urgency out there. There’s pressure.”
Reports indicate at least three teams have offers on the table to the Bears: the Houston Texans, who pick second and 12th overall in 2023; the Indianapolis Colts, who pick at No. 4 and No. 35; and the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle has a bonus first-round pick, No. 5, as a result of the Russell Wilson trade last year, as well as the No. 20 pick.
Poles, 37, doesn’t need to act with any urgency. Picks in the next three drafts can be used in trades only after the 2023 league year begins March 15. If Poles waits until draft day, 2026 draft picks can also be included.
The Bears are comfortable at quarterback with developing 2021 first-rounder Justin Fields. And with $100 million in salary cap space, the Bears are in position to assure the rebuild under way has some staying power. Moving lower than the No. 2 pick in a trade with the Texans would bring the risk for Poles that his preferred player is picked by the Arizona Cardinals at No. 3. Like Chicago, the Cardinals aren’t in this QB market.
“No one’s gonna rush me,” Poles said. “I know I can get a ‘24 one and a ‘25 one. You’re telling me for the next two years I’ll have two ones? That’s either four really good players, or if we’re cruising, we can still trade back.”
Poles is operating without a second-round pick in 2023. The Bears traded theirs, which turned out to be No. 32 overall, to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the October deadline for wide receiver Chase Claypool. When Miami forfeited its first-round pick due to tampering, the first pick of the second round became No. 32.
That intel might be good news for the Colts, who could offer No. 4 and No. 35 for No. 1.
The Texans have trump cards at nearly every turn with capital returned from the Cleveland Browns and the Deshaun Watson trade last year. In addition to the second pick and No. 12 from Cleveland, Houston has an extra third-round pick from the Browns and five of the top 73 selections in this draft.
Should Seattle veer to make a move out of general manager John Schneider’s typical lane of moving back and collecting value, this could be the year. Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll chirped of the rare opportunity and decided interest in quarterbacks in this class, which might also be calculated public discourse to entice a trade offer from another QB-needy team.
But Seattle picks fifth, 20th and 37th, with five total picks in the top 83.
The Raiders (seventh) and Panthers (ninth) are also known to be in the QB market.
“The interesting part is having a conversation with one team, and then one hour later another team texts you wanting in on the trade and they’re not afraid of what the floor of what you’re asking for is,” Poles said.
–Field Level Media