The name of the game in the NFL is talent, and for all of the moxie and grit in the world, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles knows that.
Poles said during the Bears’ preseason finale against the Buffalo Bills that his front office would remain “relentless” in its efforts to upgrade the roster. There was a caveat, though. It has to be done in a way that sustains success for a “long period of time”.
An opportunity to do just that might have just come up.
Bears Can Offer Godfather Trade for 49ers’ Nick Bosa
San Francisco 49ers EDGE rusher Nick Bosa has been away from the team as he seeks a new contract. He is in the final year of a four-year, $33.5 million contract. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Bosa could be seeking a deal worth at least $30 million. As it stands, 49ers general manager John Lynch says he is “uncomfortable” with how long this has dragged out and looks forward to a swift resolution, per Erin Walsh of Bleacher Report.
John Lynch expects Nick Bosa to be signed by Week 1 pic.twitter.com/hS54Ox4xFO
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) August 26, 2023
Bosa, 24, is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year after recording a career-high 18.5 sacks and earning his first All-Pro selection last season. Lynch and Co. are rightfully intent on keeping Bosa with the Niners.
“That hotline is closed,” Lynch said, per Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times on August 25. That never opened.”
There is “optimism” that a deal gets done. But the Bears can come with a godfather offer with two first-round picks in next year’s draft.
Proposed Bears Trade Brings 49ers’ Nick Bosa to Chicago
Chicago has two first-round picks in next year’s draft and, if they wanted, they could offer both and whatever player assets they would have to part with. Only two other teams – the Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans – have multiple firsts.
Arizona is San Fran’s division rival making any deal even less likely. Houston just forked over multiple firsts to take EDGE Will Anderson No. 3 overall in this year’s draft. But the Bears could start with the below, knowing they have that in their back pocket.
-2024 first-round pick
-2025 first-round pick
-2024 second-round pick
-2025 third-round pick
EDGE rusher Trevis Gipson isn’t going to win any deals for the Bears on his own after the news that he was granted permission to seek a trade broke. He is young, however, and has been semi-productive.
His salary also allows the Bears to make the trade for Bosa now and figure out the long-term financials later.
Potential True Cost of Trading for Nick Bosa
Chicago doesn’t have the money to pay Bosa just yet. But they can easily get there a couple of ways with one or two, perhaps not-so-easy decisions. First, Yannick Ngakoue’s $10-plus million salary comes off the books at season’s end. But the Bears need more space with Justin Fields’ contract situation looming and, potentially Jaylon Johnson who is in the final year of his deal.
"He's probably the best running quarterback I've seen." –@nbsmallerbear
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) July 20, 2023
Veterans Bears Eddie Jackson and Cody Whitehair both account for $32 million against the cap next season.
Cutting them next summer clears $21 million in cap space. It would also weaken the team as currently constructed, though the concept of one or even both players being elsewhere next year is not new.
Chicago could instead try to rework some base salaries of its current players. But that just kicks the can down the road even further. This might be too lofty of a target given how methodically Poles has operated; first in stripping the roster and then in how aggressive he was in building it back up but waiting for Ngakoue.
Jackson and Whitehair are also still good to really good players.
Unless the Bears have confidence they can replace both players, weakening the roster in two areas – especially with one of them being the offensive line – is counterproductive. If there is another way to make it work that doesn’t include Fields, the Bears might want to look into it.