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Bears GM Ryan Poles would need offer that would 'help our organization significantly' to trade No. 1 overall pick

Bears general manager Ryan Poles, to the dismay of many, did not reveal his "masterplan" as it relates to quarterback Justin Fields and the 2024 NFL Draft's No. 1 overall pick.

However, Poles outlined that if Chicago is to move on from the top pick for a second straight season, the cost would have to match that which the Panthers paid last year to the Bears.

"It's hard to say right now," Poles told reporters Tuesday at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, "but it's gotta help our organization significantly to move around, because we saw what it did last year. And I'm looking for that type of return ticket to improve our football team."

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Super Bowl weekend that the Bears would need a historic haul to trade the top pick again. Poles provided somewhat of a guideline, as he and Chicago received the ninth-overall pick in 2023, a second-round selection in 2023, a first-round pick in 2024 (which became said No. 1 overall choice), a second-round pick in 2025, and receiver DJ Moore for the 2023 No. 1 overall choice.

Former first-round pick Fields' name has been bandied about in trade rumblings prior to the season even ending. Recently, he underscored he'd like to remain in Chicago, but more than anything would like to move on to a conclusion.

Poles said he wants to "do right by Justin," but offered little in terms of a timeline for a decision as to whether they'll trade Fields or keep him and likely move the top pick.

"The first pick, quarterback situation, contrary to reports out there, I have no masterplan to present to everyone today," Poles said to open the presser. "This is an opportunity for us to continue to gather information. Learn about the different players in the draft. Listen to what opportunities could come up. And then at the end of the day, we're going to make the best decision that we can for the Chicago Bears. It will not be based on fear of what could happen with this, what could happen with that. We're going to put our information together and make the best decision."

Fields is entering his fourth NFL season -- and his last under his current rookie contract unless the Bears pick up his fifth-year option. He's 10-28 since 2021 as a starter -- the worst record in the league in that time, per NFL Research -- and battled injuries. However, his fleet feet and strong arm have provided highlights aplenty and flashed promise.

Should the Bears trade away Fields, they'd also continue a never-ending cycle of starting quarterbacks that's been the scourge of Chicago. The Bears, who have had just five Pro Bowl QBs in their existence, have had 12 different QBs start a game since 2016 -- tied for fourth-most in the NFL.

With a quarterback-rich draft, the Bears would have a shot to take USC's Caleb Williams, Daniel Jeremiah's top-ranked prospect, or any other of a stellar QB class (such as Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, etc.).

Poles was asked in particular about Williams and rumors of the Trojans product having reservations of playing for Chicago. The Bears GM said he had no concerns and had not heard anything in regard to that.

"No. No. No concerns about that at all," Poles said. "I would love to know why, if that was the case. Like I said, I think as a young quarterback, and I've been around it, the infrastructure is important, and I think we've made really good progress in terms of having really good infrastructure for whoever were to come in or if Justin were to stay here as well."

There are other quandaries for Poles to answer, namely the future of Pro Bowl cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Johnson, like Fields, has made it known he'd like to stay in the Windy City, but his mind is on the business side of things. At this point, Poles believes he and Johnson are on the right track to a long-term extension.

"In the process of getting Jaylon Johnson done, conversations are going well at this time," Poles said. "We feel like we've done a really good job coming to the table strong, showing the respect that he's due."

Poles added he'd like to avoid applying the franchise tag to Johnson.

While Johnson's future has taken a positive hue, Fields' remains unclear. Poles has been in communication with him, though.

"I've always felt, and I told him after the season when we had our exit meetings, that transparency and communication is key in these moments, and I told him we would do that," Poles said. "So, I've been in contact with his team and kind of let them know what we're looking at, how things might play out. And that we'll continue to communicate as we move forward. Again, I understand how uncomfortable that is for him, but against like I told him and I think he understands, it's part of this business. It is a unique situation. I'll continue that communication with them."

It is a unique situation, but one the Bears are faced with for a second consecutive year.

Thus, Poles has a similar asking price for the No. 1 pick and a conundrum that's yet to be answered as the combine swings into gear.

"It's unique," he said. "But I would say our approach is exactly the same in terms of we have to look at every option and determine what's best for our team."

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