If Chicago can’t exploit Washington’s obvious desire for Caleb Williams, somebody needs to be fired

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There are enough patsies in need of a quarterback that Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles would be foolish to not take the many godfather offers that will come his way before the NFL Draft on April 25. Chief among them are the Washington Commanders, who have a new owner, new GM and new coach desperately trying to reset the culture. With the hire of Kliff Kiingsbury as the offensive coordinator, Washington might as well write “Mark” on its forehead.

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A year ago, the Bears fleeced the Carolina Panthers for a No. 1 receiver, this year’s No. 1 pick and more because David Tepper has the patience of a billionaire. It was the kind of move that can expedite the trajectory of a franchise, and they can do it again. It’d be one thing if Justin Fields was unable to take advantage of the assets Pole provided him, but D.J. Moore surpassed 1,300 yards and endorsed his QB in the process.

All Chicago has to do is convince Washington that other suitors for Williams are eager and willing to part with real draft capital in order to draft the best quarterback prospect since Andrew Luck. New England and Atlanta could put together offers. Hell, what is Adam Schefter’s rate to leak nonexistent trades? It can’t be much more than a retweet and a Chipotle gift card.

The Patriots haven’t replaced Bill Belichick as GM, and that always makes for good entertainment and potential misplays, especially for an ownership group intent on proving itself post-Hoodie. Although the Pats don’t have a skill player the caliber of Moore to push Fields’ supporting cast to league-best status, they have their own first- through fifth-round picks this year and the next.

The Atlanta Falcons have Drake London and Kyle Pitts, and hold the rights to their most valuable picks this year and the next. Just gin up some interest, make rookie Commanders GM Adam Peters sweat from the pressure of rookie owner Josh Harris, and wait out the best offer. The Commanders have Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson and Antonio Gibson, and the rights to their best picks in 2024 and ’25.

The Bears went through this last year, so Poles should be familiar with how it works. Chicago doesn’t even have to take on veteran salaries if they don’t want to. Trading either Fields or the pick for Williams should net a nice haul, but the return for the No. 1 pick is probably better than a known, and likely undervalued, quantity.

Fields is on his rookie deal for another year, and even if he elevates his play to All-Pro status in 2024, his fifth-year option is an estimated $23 million, which is far below what other quarterbacks — franchise or Danny Dimes — are getting paid. Grab a bunch of picks and draft cheap talent to avoid future cap pratfalls.

Chicago is in a win-now-or-win-later situation. How Poles handles it will speak to the confidence he has in the job he’s done thus far. Punting on Fields to draft Williams guarantees him a few more years at the helm, but trading the pick is much riskier because the expectations carry over, and he still has to do the job of hitting on those picks. The reward for winning sooner, with a guy the city has already embraced, is likely an extension and even greater trust.

That being said, if you’re a GM and can’t see the obvious dynamism Fields possesses, or the leap he made when given a No. 1 receiver, maybe it’s you who the franchise should part with.

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