Bears reportedly need ‘historic haul’ to trade No. 1 pick, ‘likely’ taking Caleb Williams

Will the Chicago Bears use the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on USC quarterback Caleb Williams or trade the pick and stick with Justin Fields under center? The former seems to be the safe bet.

Chicago would need a “historic haul” to move out of the No. 1 pick, which it’s “likely” to use on Williams, NFL Network reported Sunday. Meanwhile, Fields is “likely” to be traded this offseason.

The Bears — who went 7-10 this season and also own the No. 9 pick — have the No. 1 pick thanks to a 2023 trade they made with the Carolina Panthers.

Williams had a decorated, three-year collegiate career split between USC and Oklahoma. Across his two seasons with the Trojans (2021-22), the presumptive No. 1 overall draft pick averaged 4,085 passing yards, 36 passing touchdowns and five interceptions per season, while posting a combined 169.2 passer rating and completing 67.5% of his passes. Williams, who won the 2022 Heisman Trophy, also averaged 10.5 rushing touchdowns per season over that span.

Despite the likelihood that Chicago selects Williams, some of Fields’ teammates — including wide receiver DJ Moore and cornerback Jaylon Johnson — have publicly expressed that they want him to remain the team’s quarterback.

Fields has been Chicago’s quarterback for the better part of his three years in the NFL. This season, he totaled 2,562 passing yards, 16 passing touchdowns, nine interceptions and an 86.3 passer rating, while completing 61.4% of his passes across 13 starts. Fields also rushed for 657 yards and four touchdowns.

While Fields has dazzled with his legs — specifically rushing for 1,143 yards in 2022 — and flashed a capable deep ball, he has a career passer rating of just 82.3 and has completed only 60.3% of his passes. The Bears are a combined 10-28 in games he has started.

Fields has also never appeared in more than 15 games in a single season, missing time due to rib, ankle, hip and thumb injuries over his three-year career.

Lincoln Riley on Caleb Williams being the top prospect in the NFL Draft

Chicago obtained Fields in a draft-night trade under previous general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, moving a future first-rounder, among other picks, to go from No. 20 to No. 11 to select the Ohio State signal-caller.

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