2024 NFL Draft

Here's what the Bears' return for the 2024 No. 1 pick could look like

According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, the return for this No. 1 pick could be stronger than 2023's

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The Bears will have their choice to either use the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL draft or trade it to another team.

Maybe a factor in whether or not the Bears keep Justin Fields, the return for the No. 1 pick poises to be "immense," according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Fowler illustrated NFL executives believe the return for this season's No. 1 pick will be stronger than the return the Bears received in 2023 from the Carolina Panthers.

"If the Bears traded the first pick, the return could be immense," Fowler wrote. "Several executives agree Chicago could net more than it did in the Panthers trade, and from a prospective trade partner already picking in the top five. Those execs believe the price to get to No. 1 could be two future first-rounders on top of this year's pick, along with a variation of a Day 2 pick and/or a premium veteran player on a manageable contract."

Wow, that's quite the haul.

For reference, let's look back on the return the Bears received from the Panthers for the No. 1 pick that landed them quarterback Bryce Young. Scott Fitterer and the Panthers sent the Bears the No. 9 pick (Darnell Wright), a 2023 second-round pick (Tyrique Stevenson), a 2024 first-round pick (No. 1 pick, again), a 2025 second-round pick and wide receiver DJ Moore.

That trade, while technically incomplete, appears to be a win for the Bears.

As Fowler indicated, the price for 2024's No. 1 pick could look like two first-round picks, not including the pick the Bears would switch with a hypothetical team, a Day 2 pick, and/or a veteran player. As it stands, several teams in the top portion of the draft would likely be interested in a trade.

Behind the Bears in the draft, the Washington Commanders and New England Patriots are desperate for a quarterback. The Commanders announced their decision to bench Sam Howell for the rest of the season before Week 17's games. Mac Jones and the Patriots have been on a bumpy road for three seasons now, including multiple benches, too.

Just like the Panthers' picks the Bears yielded from last season's trades, picks from Washington or New England could be gold. The Commanders are on the brink of clearing out their front office and coaching staff. And this could be Bill Belichick's final season with the Patriots.

Those picks are bound to be valuable, future assets.

Remember, there are several caveats to the Bears trading down in the draft. That move means the Bears are locked in on keeping Justin Fields at quarterback. All the focus of the offseason then quickly becomes centered around the continuous construction of the roster around Fields. That means drafting top talent.

The Bears will have to remain vigilant in trading down, not sending themselves so far down in the order as to miss out on generational wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., too. He could go off the board as quickly as the No. 4 pick, owned by the Arizona Cardinals. That means trading with the Giants down to No. 5 could garner repercussions.

Either way, Ryan Poles is under an immense amount of pressure this offseason.

Trading the No. 1 pick is enticing, but getting the quarterback position right is far more important. He will have to decide whether or not the Bears should continue placing faith in Fields, or move on to one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft.

Fowler reports Fields' play this season will make that decision "more difficult" for the Bears.

"A front office source said Fields' "special" playmaking has "absolutely" made the Bears' quarterback decision for April's draft more difficult," Fowler reported.

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