NFL Rumors: Chicago Bears Demanding "Historic" Compensation for 1st Overall Pick

The Chicago Bears are signalling they intend to make a change at quarterback. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Bears would require a "historic" haul to move off the 2024 NFL Draft's first overall pick, indicating they have every intention of drafting presumptive top quarterback prospect Caleb Williams.

That would put current Bears starting quarterback Justin Fields out of luck. Fields has been an exciting but divisive player since entering the league as the 11th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Few quarterbacks have ever demonstrated his dynamic ability as a runner: his 1143 rushing yards in 2022 are the second-most ever by a quarterback. Unfortunately, thrilling play isn't necessarily effective play: Fields sports an 11-28 record as a starter, and the Bears have yet to finish a season better than 18th in points scored since drafting him, largely due to his struggles as a passer.

Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, is the latest in a string of quarterbacks under current USC and former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley to enter the NFL as a hot commodity. Williams is the third quarterback under Riley to win the Heisman Trophy, following Baker Mayfield in 2017 and Kyler Murray in 2018. Mayfield and Murray eventually went first overall in the 2018 and 2019 NFL Drafts, and Williams appears poised to follow in their footsteps this spring.

Williams has drawn Patrick Mahomes comparisons for his ability to improvise and make off-platform throws, but his production, size, playstyle, and team success at the college level mirror Mayfield much more closely. Listed by USC at 6'1, 218 lbs, Williams is a slippery quarterback with a penchant for extending plays and a flair for the dramatic, but given Mayfield's up-and-down career, as well as the recent struggles of similarly undersized, supposedly elusive quarterbacks like Bryce Young and Russell Wilson, Williams is hardly a sure thing. No quarterback prospect is.

It's not impossible the Bears are posturing in order to drive up the price for the first overall pick. They landed a potentially transformative collection of assets for the first overall pick in last year's draft, acquiring wide receiver D.J. Moore, two first-round picks, and two second-round picks from the Carolina Panthers. One of those picks transformed into this year's first overall pick. No matter how highly the Bears think of Williams, it's difficult to imagine he could prove enough of an upgrade over Fields to justify turning down another haul like that.

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