Five bold NFL offseason predictions, including Bears’ big moves originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The 2023 NFL offseason is about to kick into high gear.
Tuesday’s opening of the tag window was the first waypoint, with the NFL Scouting Combine and free agency son to follow.
With around $100 million in salary cap space and the No. 1 pick, the offseason should run through Chicago. The Bears have the assets to make almost any move they want.
Every NFL offseason is full of unexpected twists and turns, so let’s have some fun while we kill time before the fireworks begin.
Here are five bold predictions for the offseason that are certain to make me look foolish in two months:
Not exactly Favre 2.0
Aaron Rodgers emerged from his darkness retreat Thursday and is expected to decide on his NFL future soon.
Rodgers’ time with the Green Bay Packers appears to be over. Veteran NFL reporter Bob McGinn recently reported the Packers are done with Rodgers and are prepared to move on to Jordan Love. Rodgers previously indicated this offseason that he’d be willing to rework his contract to make his cap hit in 2023 more palatable for whatever team he suits up for next season.
Many view the New York Jets as a likely landing spot for Rodgers should he decide to play in 2023 and ask for a trade.
But instead of following in Brett Favre’s footsteps, Rodgers spurs Gotham and asks to be traded to Las Vegas to rejoin Davante Adams with the Raiders.
The Raiders send the Packers a 2024 first-round pick and a 2024 third-round pick to complete the trade.
After missing out on Rodgers, the Jets ignore Derek Carr’s horrible history in cold-weather games and sign the veteran quarterback to a two-year, $62 million contract.
Bears go on a shopping spree, add top-level talent
The Bears have around $100 million to spend in free agency and holes to fill across the roster.
General manager Ryan Poles doles out multi-year contracts to right tackle Mike McGlinchey(four years, $60 million), defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones (four years, $55 million), left guard Ben Powers (four years, $38 million), and linebacker T.J. Edwards (three years, $37 million).
The Bears also sign wide receiver Michael Thomas for one year, $12 million, and edge rusher Arden Key for two years, $17 million.
With Powers on board, the Bears also cut veteran Cody Whitehair to free up more cap space.
The Bears enter the season with a projected offensive line of Braxton Jones, Powers, Lucas Patrick, Teven Jenkins, and McGlinchey. They also re-sign Sam Mustipher for depth.
Bears keep Fields, don’t get haul for the No. 1 pick
All the offseason trade chatter surrounding quarterback Justin Fields turns out to be smoke generated by Poles as he tries to drive up the trade price for the No. 1 pick.
The fish don’t bite, though.
Poles holds onto the No. 1 pick until draft day, hoping a team will be desperate enough to overpay.
But in the end, the Bears accept a solid offer from the Colts, sending the top pick to Indianapolis for the No. 4 pick, No. 35, and a 2024 first-round pick.
It’s not the Brinks Truck offer many expected, but Poles still does well to recoup the second-round pick he sent to the Steelers in the Chase Claypool trade and add to his draft arsenal for 2024.
The Colts select Bryce Young at No. 1.
Texans sign Jimmy G, don’t draft QB at No. 2
New Texans head coach DeMeco Ryan is facing a lengthy rebuild. The Texans don’t have a long-term answer at quarterback, but they also have one of the NFL’s worst defenses.
Garoppolo knows Ryans and general manager Nick Caserio from his time in San Francisco and New England. Ryans evaluates the quarterback class and decides to add a generational defensive talent rather than gamble on one of the 2023 quarterbacks.
RELATED: Signing Saquon might be Bears’ best chance to get Fields help
The Texans sign Garoppolo to a two-year deal and get to work rebuilding the rest of the roster around the quarterback spot. Ryans selects Georgia defensive tackle at No. 2.
The Carolina Panthers trade up to No. 3 to select C.J. Stroud, and the Bears happily walk away from the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft with Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson.
Three WRs get traded, but none go to Chicago
Last offseason, three star wideouts were traded, with Adams, Tyree Hill, and A.J. Brown getting new zip codes.
The NFL runs the same script back this offseason.
The Bears get involved in the bidding for Chris Godwin, but he is ultimately traded to the Lions. Meanwhile, the Patriots swing a deal for DeAndre Hopkins, and the Giants add Jerry Jeudy.
Chicago enters the season with Thomas, Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, and rookie Jalin Hyatt as their top four.
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