Caleb Williams

Bears had decided on Caleb Williams before the NFL Scouting Combine: report

The Athletic reports the Bears told teams they would not trade the No. 1 pick before the combine

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Ryan Poles and the Bears have known for some time that USC quarterback Caleb Williams would be their next signal-caller for the franchise.

Just how long have they known?

"The Chicago Bears have made it known to teams since before the NFL Scouting Combine that they are not open to trading the No. 1 pick," The Athletic's Diana Russini reported on Wednesday. "Though quarterback-hungry franchises have beseeched teams up and down the top 10 to consider a trade, Chicago wasn’t even an option on the call sheet."

If we connect the dots on this one correctly, that means the Bears knew they would be moving off Justin Fields before the first week of March. Ouch.

Some Bears fans assumed the decision between Williams or Fields was a difficult one --- one that would drag Poles to his wit's end in trying to decide. That doesn't appear to have been the case, according to this report. But, as Poles said, it was difficult for the Bears to trade Fields, who Poles jokingly said he wished was a meaner person so it would be easier to trade him.

On March 16, just under two weeks after the NFL Scouting Combine, the Bears traded Fields to the Steelers for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft. But the Bears had known well before then they planned to trade him.

At the combine, Poles hinted about the Bears trading Fields by saying the team wished to "do right by" Fields, giving him ample time and opportunity to fit with his next team. They did that, trading him a few days after NFL free agency opened and choosing a trade partner of Fields' preference.

Now, the path for the Bears to draft Williams is wide open. They met with him. He met with them. They only met with each other during top-30 visits leading up to the draft. And now the time has finally come for the two to officially join forces.

All that's left is for Roger Goodell to read his name to the Bears on Thursday night in Detroit.

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