Looking at the past to examine the Chicago Bears’ trade down options for the No. 1 pick

(Photo: Bill Streicher, USA TODAY Sports)

Mitchell Trubisky (Chicago Bears) Trade from No. 3 to No. 2 (2017)

San Francisco 49ers Received No. 3 (1st round), No. 67 (3rd round) & No. 111 (4th round) in 2017. 3rd round (No. 70) 2018

Draft Value Chart:

  • Rich Hill: 203 Points (Equal to No. 29)
  • Jimmy Johnson: 400 points (Equal to No. 50)
  • Fitzgerald-Spielberger: 206 points

Thoughts: Bears fans should be far too familiar with this trade by now. At the time, many believed the Bears gave up too much but as we dive a little deeper into the history of these trades, you’ll find a certain trade with the same parameters that came with much more of a cost to the team trading up . I still don’t fault Ryan Pace’s thought process during this deal. More impressive, this collection of picks led to the picks of running back Alvin Kamara and linebacker Fred Warner.

Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles) trade from No. 8 to No. 2 for (2016) *Pre-draft trade

Cleveland Browns Received No. 8 (1st round), No. 77 (3rd round), & No. 100 (4th round) in 2016. 1st round 2017 (No. 12). 2nd round 2018 (No. 64). Philadelphia Eagles also received a 2017 4th round pick (No. 139).

Draft Value Chart:

  • Rich Hill: 311 points (Equal to No. 15 (315) or No. 16 (305)
  • Jimmy Johnson: 1200 points (Equal to No. 12 overall)
  • Fitzgerald-Spielberger: 703 points

Thoughts: The second trade in this sequence is also one that classifies as a “modern-day” trade. Not only does it reflect the current value of the quarterback market, but it could also be another blueprint for Poles in the coming months. The Browns opted for a slightly different approach. They landed an extra pick in the trade year but also received less on the back end in 2018. They also sent another mid-round pick back to the Eagles. In terms of value, this is considerably lower than what the Rams received in the RGIII trade. Again, this goes to show how inconsistent and imperfect a draft-day trade process can be.

Jared Goff (St. Louis Rams) trade from No. 15 to No. 1 (2016) *Pre-draft trade

Tennessee Titans received No. 15 (1st round), No. 43 (2nd round), No. 45 (2nd round) & No. 76 (3rd round) in 2016. 1st round (No. 5) & 4th round (No. 100) in 2017. St. Louis Rams received No. 113 (4th round) & No. 177 (6th round) in the 2017 draft.

Draft Value Chart:

  • Rich Hill: 685 points (Equal to No. 2 (717) if including No. 108)
  • Jimmy Johnson: 1950 points (Equal to No. 4 overall (1800) & No. 80 overall (150)
  • Fitzgerald-Spielberger: 1,372 points

Thoughts: In the same year we saw the Eagles’ trade for Wentz, we also saw the Rams make a deal for Goff. In terms of pick spread, this was the most drastic trade-down ever charted involving a Top 3 pick. The Titans received the bulk of their value the same year but did land another first-round pick the following year, too. Some of that value was offset but sent a pair of picks (in different years) back to the Rams. It should be noted that both of the trades with trade-down teams sending picks back to the other team, did not involve another higher than a fourth-round pick.

Robert Griffin III (Washington) Trade from No. 6 to No. 2 (2012)

St. Louis Rams Received No. 6 (1st round) & No. 39 (2nd round) for 2012. 1st round picks for 2013 (No. 22) & 2014 (No. 2).

Draft Value Chart:

  • Rich Hill: 271 points (Equal to No. 19 (278) or No. 20 (269)
  • Jimmy Johnson: 1950 points (Equal to No. 4 overall (1800) & No. 80 overall (150)
  • Fitzgerald-Spielberger: 557 points

Thoughts: This first trade listed may be the best overall “bang for your buck” that a trading team has received when looking at overall value. This could also closely align with what the Bears would attempt to do with a team like the Indianapolis Colts, who currently sit at No. 4 overalls. While it would be nice to receive more in 2023, the long-range goal here would be to provide themselves with as much future draft capital as possible. The best way to do that? Lock in a pair of future first-round picks that can be used to trade up, trade down, or trade for an existing player.

Michael Vick (Atlanta Falcons) trade from No. 5 to No. 1 (2001)

San Diego Chargers Received No. 5 (1st round), and No. 67 (3rd round). 2nd round pick in 2002 (No. 48).

Draft Value Chart:

  • Rich Hill: 532 points (Equal to No. 3 & No. 115)
  • Jimmy Johnson: 1,300 points (Equal to No. 10)
  • Fitzgerald-Spielberger: 816 points

Thoughts: As seen above, there was an 11-year gap between trades involving Top 2 picks and quarterbacks. While some may be able to point to this as some sort of guideline for a current value, the value of quarterbacks has greatly increased. It’s fun to look at past trades but here is about the cut-off to where current-day values ​​and trades from two decades ago are simply no longer comparable.

Ryan Leaf (San Diego Chargers) Trade from No. 3 to No. 2 (1998)

Arizona Cardinals Received No. 3 (1st round), and No. 33 (2nd round) in 1998. 1st round 1999 (No. 8). Arizona also received wide receiver Eric Metcalf and linebacker Patrick Sapp.

Draft Value Chart:

  • Rich Hill: 203 Points (Equal to No. 29)
  • Jimmy Johnson: 400 points (Equal to No. 50)
  • Fitzgerald-Spielberger: 206 points

Thoughts: Again, this is a trade that happened almost 25 years ago, so there will be little correlation to the modern-day NFL. With that being said, it’s interesting to go back and look at this trade and compare it to the trade for Trubisky. While many believed Pace gave up too much to move up one draft spot, this trade took things to an entirely new level. It doesn’t help that Leaf was a massive bust. This was also the last trade-down (fitting these parameters) to involve players.

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