The Chicago Bears are reportedly "leaning toward" trading the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Monday (February 27).
"Sources: The Bears already have been approached by multiple teams about trading the draft’s No. 1 overall pick, and Chicago is said to be 'leaning toward' moving the pick. So the No. 1 pick now looks like it’s for sale," Schefter tweeted.
Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated Senior NFL reporter Albert Breer said the Bears were reportedly planning to keep Justin Fields amid previous reports that they were fielding trade offers and considering using the No. 1 overall pick on another quarterback.
“My sense is that they’re going to move forward with Justin Fields and try to trade the first pick,” Breer said during a February 1 appearance on the Rich Eisen Show Tuesday (h/t Yahoo Sports). “Could that change based on their evaluation of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, Anthony Richardson? Sure. But I’ve talked to enough people there that feel like Justin didn’tー there wasn’t enough around Justin to get a really clean evaluation on him last year, and given what he had, what he did was really, really impressive.”
Fields was selected by the Bears after Chicago traded up to No. 11 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. The former Ohio State standout threw for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 192 of 318 passing, while also recording 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns on 160 rushing attempts in 2022.
Fields also reportedly impressed the organization by accepting blame for the team's struggles during his second season, rather than point blame elsewhere, according to Breer.
“We’ve heard about the friction and bitching from [New England Patriots second-year quarterback] Mac Jones, and everything else. Did we hear one word from Justin Fields complaining about his circumstances? No," Breer told Eisen on Tuesday. "So I think that there is an appreciation not only for how Justin played, how he put his body on the line, but also how he handled all of it. He kind of had a square jaw about the whole thing. Like, ‘I’m taking the responsibility here because I am the franchise quarterback,’ and I think that scored him a lot of points with people in that organization."
The Bears will likely try to trade back in the upcoming draft with several teams having a strong need for the quarterback position. NFL Network draft expert Daniel Jeremiah currently has Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter at No. 1 overall prospecct in his latest NFL.com prospect rankings.