CARDINALS CORNER

Bears GM Ryan Poles eager to move quickly on quarterback decision

Feb 27, 2024, 11:23 AM

Ryan Poles during an interview...

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles did not present his “master plan” for the team’s No. 1 overall draft pick during his NFL Scouting Combine interview with reporters on Tuesday.

The GM did, however, make at least one thing clear: He’s hoping to have a decision at quarterback sooner rather than later.

Garnering the top pick in the NFL Draft for a second straight season, the Bears have a massive decision to make. They can either stick with incumbent signal caller and 2021 first-round pick Justin Fields or change course completely in favor of projected No. 1 pick and USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

“I would love to know as soon as possible, but I know that’s not how the process works,” Poles told reporters. “Before free agency would be good. … and if we’re going to do something with Justin, I want to do right by him and I know living in that grey space, you want to do something sooner rather than later.

“But just how I talk about contracts, it takes two teams. We’re also trying to figure out the draft process as well. There’s a lot of different things with different timelines going and that’s what makes it a little bit difficult.”

Given where the Cardinals sit in the draft order behind other QB-needy teams in the Washington Commanders and New England Patriots, whatever the Bears decide to do with the No. 1 overall pick will impact how Arizona and others near the top of the order navigate the draft.

A run of quarterbacks across the first three selections would give the Cardinals their pick of the non-QB litter, highlighted by wide-receiving prospects Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze.

And given the need for added talent in Arizona’s WRs room, any of the three would be an instant upgrade at the position.

Could Chicago Bears trade out of the No. 1 overall pick (again)?

For a second straight season, the Bears hold the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

And after getting an absolute haul last year in a trade with the Carolina Panthers that ironically handed the Bears a consecutive No. 1 pick, could Chicago really pull the trigger once again to the highest bidder?

While “everybody wants to take a temperature of what’s going on,” it’s going to take a lot for the Bears to move off the pick for a second consecutive year.

“It’s unique, but I would say our approach is exactly the same in terms of we’ve got to look at every option and determine what is best for our team,” Poles said. “We chose to trade back last year and I think that helped our team out a lot. We’ll do a deep dive and see how it plays out.

“It’s hard to say right now but it’s got to help our organization significantly to move around,” he added. “We saw what it did last year and I’m looking for that type of return to improve our football team.”

Are the Bears concerned about Caleb Williams not wanting to play for Chicago?

Not that long ago, there were rumblings that Williams might not want to head to the Windy City to begin his NFL career.

And while that has since been refuted by Williams’ camp, the topic still found its way to Poles’ podium on Tuesday.

“No concerns at all,” he said. “I would love to know why if that was the case.

“As a young quarterback, infrastructure is important and I think we made really good progress in terms of having really good infrastructure for whoever would come in or if Justin were to stay here as well.”

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