The question is shifting from if Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles will trade the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to when a trade will go down.
Poles provided more clarity on his thought process when speaking to Peter King for his Football Morning In America column, suggesting any team wanting to make a trade early in the process will have to shell out big-time to secure the top pick.
"Should we do this before free agency? Or should we wait?" Poles told King. "I don't know. That's what I've communicated [to teams]. I could carry this all the way until we're on the clock the night of the draft. But then there's teams that want some certainty because, 'If I need a quarterback bad, should I do that now when some of these guys, like Derek Carr, are out there?' To me, they've got to go so much more above to do it now.
"I'm not greedy with it. But they're gonna have to go above and beyond to close the door now."
In the past, we've seen clubs move up into the top-3 throughout the course of the offseason.
In 2016, the Rams traded to the No. 1 spot on April 14 (Jared Goff). Seven days later that year, the Eagles jumped to No. 2 overall (Carson Wentz). In 2018, the New York Jets moved to No. 3 overall on March 17, well over a month before draft day (Sam Darnold). And in 2021, the San Francisco 49ers moved to the No. 3 spot on March 26, ensuring quarterbacks would go off the board 1, 2, 3 (Niners ultimately selecting Trey Lance).
Draft-day trades happen more frequently, particularly down the board. In 2017, the Bears famously moved up one spot from No. 3 to No. 2 to draft Mitchell Trubisky. Later during that same draft, the Kansas City Chiefs traded up to No. 10 to take Patrick Mahomes.
With the Bears planning to stick with Justin Fields under center, trading the No. 1 pick available to any QB-needy team is the smartest move. It's possible, depending on how clubs feel about certain QBs, the Bears could trade back twice and recoup even more draft stock. For example, if Houston wants to secure their choice at QB, they could trade to No. 1, then another QB-needy club like Indianapolis or Carolina could leap to the No. 2 spot.
Depending on how he plays his cards, Poles could add several more picks over the next couple of years and still wind up with a top-6 player in this year's draft -- similar to how the Philadelphia Eagles built their Super Bowl contender. But he has made it clear he's willing to sell for the right price at his pace.
"No one's gonna rush me," Poles told King. "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."
Dealing the No. 1 pick could set up the Bears for years to come to continue adding young talent. Now, we wait for the dominoes to fall.