What do the Bears do with the number one overall pick?

By Andy Davies

Caleb Williams is seen by many to be the consensus first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. But will he be taken by the Chicago Bears?


The USC quarterback has been the best in college football over the past two seasons, with 93 touchdowns, 10,082 yards and just 14 interceptions in three campaigns along with a Heisman Trophy in 2022.


The Bears have the first overall pick by virtue of the Carolina Panthers’ two-win season in 2023 and rumours have started to appear that Williams does not want to be drafted by the Bears. However, their camp has also been quick to rebut these claims.   


The Bears won seven games in 2023 and they have a quarterback they traded up to get 11th overall three years ago in Justin Fields, which means they aren’t necessarily going to go for a quarterback in the draft. However, they may also feel that Williams is too good to pass up.


So what to the Bears do? Here’s a look at what options they could go with.

Draft Williams, Trade Fields

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 01: Caleb Williams #QB14 of Southern California speaks to the media during the NFL Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 01, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kara Durrette/Getty Images)

This is the most likely scenario seen by NFL fans. Fields may have shown potential in his three years as a professional, but there has also been plenty of difficult moments. In three seasons, he only has 10 more career touchdowns than career interceptions. He has also done his best to keep the record of the franchise never having a 4,000-yard passer going, with 2,562 his highest total.

If the Bears decide Williams is their guy, then they will have no option other than to trade Fields away. Taking Williams may ultimately affect trade value as teams will know they are keen on trading away, but they can get at least a second or third round pick for him.

The most seemingly likely options at the moment are the Las Vegas Raiders even with the addition of Gardner Minshew, Minnesota Vikings now that Kirk Cousins has joined the Atlanta Falcons, and the Denver Broncos who released Russell Wilson. These three teams that won’t be high enough to take a top quarterback prospect in the draft (unless they trade up), but also have a good enough team around to appeal to Fields.

The Bears will have another first round pick if they take Williams, as well as various other later round picks if they trade away Fields. This could help their new signal caller become a success straight away. They will need to draft correctly if they are to have the best chance of success, but the history of the franchise will suggest Williams should perhaps consider not going to Chicago.

Build Around Fields

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 07: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears takes off running during the first half against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 07, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Chicago’s front office is in almost win-win territory. If they go with Williams, they have a top quarterback prospect. If they trade down, they can give Fields the best help possible.

The aforementioned highest total of passing yards was in his most recent season (2023) and this will give Bears fans encouragement, especially how they finished the season.

According to Spotrac.com, the Bears will have the fourth biggest salary cap this offseason, boasting an exciting $63.8 million to work with. Not only do they have two of the first nine overall picks at time of writing, but add in the salary cap in Free Agency and they have a plethora of options.

There will be plenty of teams keen to grab the first overall pick, such as the Washington Commanders (second overall), New England Patriots (third overall), New York Giants (sixth overall) and the Minnesota Vikings (11th overall) now that Kirk Cousins has left. They could all aim to move up to that first overall spot, which could allow the Bears to further add to their draft capital.

Should the Commanders or Patriots want to move up to number one, they will still be in prime position to get the top non quarterback prospect out of this year’s class. Marvin Harrison Jr stands out as the guy to get, which paired up with DJ Moore, gives Fields a brilliant chance of improvement, just as we have seen when Josh Allen got Stefon Diggs, Tua Tagoaviloa got Tyreek Hill and Jalen Hurts got AJ Brown.

Factor in the ninth overall pick they have as a result of their own record in 2023, they can go get either another weapon, a defensive stud or a lineman to help protect Fields, who after all was the ninth most sacked quarterback last season.


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - DECEMBER 10: General Manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus walk off the field after a win over the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on December 10, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

In conclusion, Fields is most likely going to be traded away, given the fact he has had three seasons in the NFL, the Bears may feel they can’t trade down from the first overall pick for a second year in a row.

The Williams camp denying reports he does not want to play for them, and the fact that they would go back to year one of a rookie QB deal instead of being in the fourth year and potentially having to pay up, it seems very possible that Fields suits up elsewhere in 2024.

Prediction: Bears take Williams first overall, Fields traded to Vikings



Andy is a Sports Journalism graduate with over four years experience of NFL writing and podcasting. Andy is the host of the Across the Pod, Fins Nation UK and Euro Tripz podcasts and has press pass experience at the London games and many other NFL based events, having interviewed the likes of Jason Bell, Osi Umenyiora, Doug Pederson, Derrick Henry, Trevor Lawrence and Mike Vrabel.