The Chicago Bears still don’t know what the market will be for the No. 1 pick. That’s because other teams looking for quarterback help haven’t set their own plans. Until that happens, the phones won’t be ringing much. The answers won’t come until March when the off-season begins. There may be a few prominent veterans. Depending on where they go will have a significant impact on what any trade market looks like for the first pick.
So this might be a good time to look at the landscape and determine where the big names will go based on the available information. Then we’ll see if it helps or hurts the Bears. If we’re going to start somewhere, we might as well start with the GOAT himself.
Tom Brady – Signed with the Las Vegas Raiders
This seems almost a foregone conclusion. Brady will leave Tampa Bay. Everyone knows it. The Raiders are the favorite because Josh McDaniels is the head coach. He has shared a long, fruitful relationship with Brady since their time together in New England. Las Vegas has Davante Adams, Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow as receiving options. Last but not least, they play in a dome. All of these factors are beneficial for a quarterback of Brady’s age. Money won’t be much of an issue once Derek Carr is out of the picture.
Lamar Jackson – Franchise tagged by the Baltimore Ravens
Extension talks remain deadlocked between the two sides. Baltimore officials remain adamant that they are committed to signing Jackson long-term. Still, the quarterback doesn’t budge from his demands. That’s why the Ravens will likely franchise tag him. There’s an outside chance they’ll trade him once they do, but that doesn’t seem realistic. The acquisition team would need a huge amount of project capital and also pay a huge contract extension. Possible, yes. Not likely.
Derek Carr – Signed with the New Orleans Saints after being cut
Las Vegas has until Feb. 15 to trade Carr before a massive contract bonus takes effect. Carr has a no-trade clause in his contract. That means he has to approve every deal they make. The chances of that happening are slim. All signs point to him being cut and choosing his destination as a free agent. New Orleans has the perfect setting. They are a dome team like the Raiders, boast a solid offensive line and have some excellent weapons led by Chris Olave. On top of that, they are in a weak division.
Daniel Jones – Re-signed with the New York Giants
Some will argue that it’s wise for the Giants to invest a huge new contract in Jones, but they don’t have much of a choice. He was a big reason for their turnaround in 2022 and their playoff win over Minnesota. He did enough to earn that extension. New York will give it to him. There are no signs that he will test the free market. Maybe the Giants will use the franchise tag to buy some negotiating time. Either way, don’t expect him to go anywhere but back in the Big Apple.
Geno Smith – Re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks
This situation is similar to the Giants. Smith was very good in 2022, but does anyone think he can lead the Seahawks to the Super Bowl? Alas, Seattle doesn’t have much of a choice. Either they re-sign him or take their chances on a rookie quarterback with that 5th pick. Pete Carroll is 70 years old. So the answer is obvious. Smith will be back and the Seahawks will focus the draft on improving the roster.
Aaron Rodgers – Stays in Green Bay
This one is the hardest to predict. Rogers is as mercurial as ever. No one knows what he will do. A trade is certainly possible, but it’s hard not to feel that going for Jordan Love would still be a downgrade from Green Bay’s perspective. There will be a lot of noise. The Chicago Bears would like nothing better than to see him go. However, all indications are that he will retire or return for another season in green and gold.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Signed with the New York Jets
After the Zach Wilson debacle, the Jets will likely be concerned about moving up in the draft again. This regime must make the playoffs in 2023 or risk being fired. After considering Brady, Carr and Rodgers, they will be left with few other options. Garoppolo is hardly an elite name, but he’s still better than anything they have on the current roster. He can be a bridge until they find someone else.
So how will this affect the Chicago Bears?
It’s a result fans should be rooting for. The only thing they don’t want is a couple of top-10 teams in need of defensemen to find their guy in the veteran market. After the dust settles, only one such team does that with Brady to the Raiders. Houston (#2), Indianapolis (#4), Atlanta (#8) and Carolina (#9) enter the draft undecided at quarterback. That will add to the desperation to land someone in that top 10. With both Houston and Indianapolis lurking, the only way to get a pick from them is to give the Chicago Bears a bag to grab the No. 1 overall pick.
There might be a surprise or two, but all indications are that the market for #1 will be extremely fierce once the draft rolls around in April.