Even with 2021 first round NFL draft pick Justin Fields now waiting in the wings as the team's quarterback of the future, the Bears still possess a veteran team around the up-and-coming signal-caller, one that can potentially compete should Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers head elsewhere in 2021.
However, the Bears need not play for the present but rather the future as Fields should be in the Windy City for years to come.
If veteran quarterback Andy Dalton does ultimately start the upcoming regular season as the team's starting signal-caller, the Bears should begin shedding aging talent in exchange for younger players or future NFL Draft picks.
With the team already all set at quarterback, tight end and wide receiver (to some degree), the Bears should waste no time in looking toward the trade market in order to surround Fields with players and picks that are going to help him in the long haul. The odds of the Bears competing in the NFC North in 2021-22 remain slim as Rodgers could still return to Green Bay in addition to the fact that both the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings improved this offseason.
A tiny bit of success now isn't worth potentially ruining immense success for years to come as the Bears need as much future NFL Draft capital as possible moving forward.
Bears trade candidates:
Nick Foles, QB
With the Chicago Bears selecting former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft in addition to signing former Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton, the NFC North franchise no longer needs the services of journeyman quarterback Nick Foles.
Despite overpaying to get Foles in the first place, the Bears need to part ways with the Philadelphia Eagles legend regardless of the return. The stench surrounding Foles after several tough seasons, including part of one in the Windy City last year, just isn't what the Bears need right now. Foles could warrant a late round NFL Draft pick or two if the Bears are willing to eat some of his unnecessarily high salary.
Of course, it goes without saying that Foles' inflated salary will be the biggest dealbreaker for the Bears and any team that is willing to take on the veteran signal-caller. Foles won't serve as more than a primary backup for any NFL franchise heading into 2021-22 and currently serves as the Bears' third-stringer behind Dalton and Fields, respectively.
Jimmy Graham, TE
As the Chicago Bears begin to get up-and-coming tight end Cole Kmet more involved in the team's offensive attack, veteran tight end Jimmy Graham might not be used nearly as much come 2021-22. Although Graham will surely continue to serve as some sort of red zone target for the Bears, it could be lots of Kmet up and down the field and the young pass catcher can get it together this time around.
With Graham still having at least a little something left in the tank, there is no doubt a contending team that will pony up a few NFL Draft picks in exchange for the longtime tight end. If Graham is still around in Chicago in 2021-22, it will only hinder Kmet's progress. It is also worth noting that Graham will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2021-22 season, so getting something for him would certainly be better than nothing for the Bears, especially with Kmet in the mix at tight end.
Anthony Miller, WR
The future of the Chicago Bears wide receiver room remains up in the air as veteran pass catcher Allen Robinson II will play the 2021-22 campaign under the paramters of the league's franchise tag.
With Robinson only tied to Chicago for at least one more season, the Bears will likely need to look outside the organization in order to fill the possible void at the premiere position. With that being said, after three seasons atop the highest level, fellow Bears wide receiver Anthony Miller has shown that he is not a top pass catcher while stringing together two mediocre seasons following a relatively solid rookie campaign.
However, Miller still possesses enough promise that another franchise from around the league would be willing to give up some future NFL Draft capital in order to give the young wideout a second chance at success. Like both Robinson and aging Bears tight end Jimmy Graham, Miller will also be an unrestricted free agent after the 2021-22 season.