The Chicago Bears have stated that they will continue to make moves in the 2023 offseason. They still have a few gaps to fill so this makes sense. They can fill those gaps through the draft, but they should also consider the trade market. Here we’ll look at one perfect NFL trade the Chicago Bears must complete in the 2023 offseason to improve their depth moving forward.
One major concern continues to loom over Bears GM Ryan Poles’ head. That’s the right tackle position. To put it mildly, that spot is in flux for this team. Keep in mind that Riley Reiff has moved on to the New England Patriots. Larry Borom is now their best option. While the addition of Nate Davis helped Justin Fields’ interior blocking, the Bears must reinforce the edges. Some feel like waiting for the draft is their best choice right now. However, they should also consider shipping some excess talent in a deal that could fill this hole in their offensive line.
That said, the Bears are surely not giving up on improving their team and are reportedly looking around the league for possible trade solutions. While it is uncertain if they will find an upgrade over their current players, one name worth considering is Rob Havenstein of the Los Angeles Rams. Take note that the Rams are reportedly open to trading everyone except for Aaron Donald, Cooper Kupp, and Matthew Stafford. The Bears obviously have the draft picks and funds necessary to make a deal. Other potential trade options include Laremy Tunsil of the Houston Texans and maybe even Braden Smith of the Indianapolis Colts.
Although teams are often hesitant to unload offensive linemen before the draft, the Bears should still explore their options. In the past, the Carolina Panthers surprised everyone by trading their best wide receiver. We feel the Bears could do something similar here. If the Bears can make a successful trade, it would be a wise move by Poles. After all, there is no harm in exploring the market as there is always a possibility of finding a player that might be available. If they do actively explore this kind of deal, packaging one of their receivers for a much-needed right tackle can greatly benefit the squad.
Let’s look at the perfect trade the Chicago Bears must complete in the 2023 offseason.
Trade Darnell Mooney for a right tackle/picks
Remember that the Bears made a bold move in the upcoming NFL Draft by trading the No. 1 overall pick for the No. 9 and No. 61 picks this season, a 2024 first-round selection, and a 2025 second-rounder. They also added DJ Moore, a talented wide receiver who is now the most accomplished pass-catcher on the team. However, the flip side here is that the team now faces a problem of surplus playmakers. As such, they need to cut one of them to avoid investing over $60 million annually in just four wideouts for several years.
Keep in mind that Moore’s contract runs for three more years with an average of $17.4 million per year. That is a reasonable price for a mid-tier No. 1 receiver. However, they also have Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet, and Darnell Mooney are all entering the final year of their respective deals and are eligible for extensions this offseason. Remember that if the Bears had not acquired Moore, they could have extended all three players. However, with Moore’s acquisition, the Bears will need to let go of one of those three other receivers. Mooney’s market value is estimated at $18 million per season, while Claypool’s value is around $12 million after two disappointing campaigns. For his part, Kmet’s is roughly $14 million.
Darnell Mooney gets the beautiful catch for the Bears touchdown ✨pic.twitter.com/wV9hSgyHdO
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) November 6, 2022
Having said that, we expect that either Claypool or Mooney will be traded this offseason or become a free agent next year. Although Mooney has been the more productive player, the Bears’ management signaled their interest in Claypool by trading the first pick of the second round to acquire him.
As of now, it seems like the next logical step for the Bears would be to trade Mooney for a player of equal value to Claypool. Sure, Mooney has performed well for the Bears. I mean, even with injury issues, he was the team’s top receiver in 2022. However, the Bears still need to move him due to redundancy and financial concerns. What’s he worth on the market, though? Package a pick with him, and maybe the Bears could fetch the o-line help they need. Ultimately, of course, the Bears will accept the best offer for Mooney. Ideally, it would be an actual right tackle or a pick that can be parlayed into one.
Again, in some ways, this decision point was a by-product of the Claypool trade. In hindsight, that now seems like a mistake. That is especially now that it is clear Mooney is the better player. If we’re being cynical, we could essentially view this situation as trading Mooney and a top second-round pick for a worse receiver in Claypool and a worse draft pick. Again, the Claypool deal just doesn’t look like it panned out for the Bears. Of course, that can all change if he has a breakout season in 2023. We’re not holding our breaths, though.
Looking ahead, the Bears do have a lot of flexibility and resources to play with. They’ve committed to Justin Fields as their QB and added a new weapon to their receiver corps. New RB D’Onta Foreman is also on board along with TE Robert Tonyan from the Green Bay Packers. Now they just need the perfect right tackle to complement their existing o-line talent and protect Fields under center.