Chicago Bears insider Adam Hoge explains why the Denver Broncos would struggle to make a deal for Caleb Williams or Justin Fields

Henry Chisholm Avatar
February 5, 2024

The Chicago Bears are likely to trade a starting quarterback in the next couple of months.

The trade could come in one of two forms:

  1. They move on from Justin Fields, their first-round draft pick in 2021 and starter ever since.
  2. They trade the first-overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, which is overwhelmingly likely to be USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

According to CHGO’s Bears insider Adam Hoge, the Bears are unlikely to hold onto both players.

“I think that locker room right now is too far in Justin Fields’ corner and it would really create a toxic situation for a rookie quarterback,” he said on the DNVR Broncos Podcast. “We all know how that plays out; the second Justin struggles or the Bears start 0-3 like they did technically… the fans are gonna start calling for Caleb anyway… It’s much better to rip the band-aid off, preferably before the draft.”

So which one quarterback will the Bears choose?

“I think the overwhelming favorite—if we’re going to talk Vegas odds right now—has to be that the Bears will draft Caleb Williams,” Hoge said. “I don’t think it’s set in stone inside the Bears’ front office right now. They don’t know what teams are going to offer yet.”

The Broncos could be in the market for a new starting quarterback. Russell Wilson is under contract, but the Broncos would save salary cap space in the future if they release him this offseason.

That could make the Broncos and Bears ideal trade partners.

But Hoge says the fit isn’t perfect.

The Broncos would have to offer a massive package to pry the No. 1 pick from Chicago. Their max offer would probably be something like the 12th pick in the draft, first-round picks in 2025 and 2026, a third-round pick this year and cornerback Pat Surtain II. (DNVR looked at that potential trade package here.)

“I would say it’s tempting,” Hoge said, “but there’s a couple of problems in there.”

One problem is that the Broncos’ best trade chip is Surtain, but the Bears aren’t in the market for a cornerback.

“They’re extremely deep there,” he said. “They’re young.”

Chicago’s cornerback room is led by 24-year-old All-Pro Jaylon Johnson. Tyrique Stevenson, 23, and Kyler Gordon, 24, have proven to be NFL starters as well.

“That’s not a knock on Surtain,” Hoge said. “That’s just the Bears’ situation.”

The Bears could move one of their young cornerbacks (or opt not to retain Johnson, a free agent this offseason). But the easy answer is that the fit isn’t perfect.

The other problem is that the Bears don’t have a second-round pick, and probably want to fill that gap. The Broncos don’t have a second-round pick either. That doesn’t mean a potential deal is doomed, but it’s a tougher sell.

This problem would be a bigger issue in a deal for Fields.

“I think that the belief right now seems to be that the Bears should be able to get a second-rounder for him,” Hoge said.

The Broncos could make other moves to pick up a second-round pick, or they could package future picks to build a competitive offer, but if the price is a second-round pick and the Broncos don’t have one, they’re starting from a tough spot.

Similarly, the Broncos could move Surtain in a separate deal to pick up assets, or they could offer another player or picks.

As of now, though, the Broncos and Bears don’t appear to be ideal trade partners.

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