The Chicago Bears are preparing for one of their most exciting seasons in quite some time. Even after they won the NFC North in 2018 fans were not nearly as excited about the potential of that team in 2019 versus what fans expect out of the future now. This all stems from the adoration for third-year quarterback Justin Fields and the leap the Bears expect from him this season. He broke out last year with his rushing prowess, however he didn't show the intangibles throwing the football that many of his doubters would have liked to see. That is why this offseason GM Ryan Poles went nuclear in building an offense around Fields that should supplement his entire game; now fans are expecting absolutely gargantuan things from Fields and the Bears offense this year. With all of that being said, there are a few trade candidates on the Bears current roster that might not fit the current direction that Chicago is going in. Entering Bears 2023 training camp, Dante Pettis, Jaylon Johnson and Nathan Peterman are most likely on the trade block.
The Bears are on the cusp of completing a rebuild right now, so they aren't really in the business of a trade that would require dealing a massive haul of assets. However, as the offseason progresses and confidence continues to grow, the Bears might be interested in a trade for a player that fits the identity that they are building as long as they don't give up too much. This is why guys like Pettis, Johnson and Peterman are perfect candidates for a trade. The Bears don't necessarily need any of these guys, and teams that are desperate at their positions would most likely be willing to do a smaller scale trade in return for one of them. Out of all three Jaylon Johnson is the most high profile, while the Bears current depth at cornerback could entice them to pursue a trade. Nevertheless, training camp will arrive and these guys are more likely than not to still be on the Bears roster. However, Johnson, Pettis and Peterman should not be surprised if they are involved in a trade this offseason.
*Roster via ESPN
Bears GM Ryan Poles did a great job re-tooling the wide receiving corps for Justin Fields. He acquired Chase Claypool at the trade deadline last season, and although Claypool didn't acclimate very well during 2022, a full offseason should have him ready to go in 2023. Then Poles made one of the biggest splashes of the NFL offseason by trading the No. 1 overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for a package involving star wide receiver DJ Moore. Moore now comes in as the clear cut No. 1 wideout for the Bears in a strong wide receiver room with Claypool and Darnell Mooney. The Bears also drafted speedy rookie Tyler Scott and are expecting more from last year's draft pick Velus Jones Jr. All of this suggests that Dante Pettis is extremely expendable and could easily be in a trade by training camp. Pettis has had an up-and-down career, and if he wants to find playing time somewhere, it will most likely not be on the Bears. Overall, it might even be in the best interest of both the Bears and Dante Pettis to see a trade happen by training camp.
Jaylon Johnson is entering his fourth year in the NFL after struggling last season and seeing the Bears revamp their cornerback room this summer. The Bears went out drafted Tyrique Stevenson out of the University of Miami who figures to compete for a starting spot right out of the gates. Additionally, last year's rookies Jaquan Brisker, Kyler Gordon, and Elijah Hicks had very solid first campaigns in the NFL and will definitely be a big part of the Bears secondary this year. Furthermore, they took a late round flier on defensive back Kendall Williamson in the draft as well. Johnson has had some good moments in the NFL, but the Bears are trying to build for the future, and they could prefer to rely on young guys who are still developing versus Johnson who might have already reached his ceiling. Not to mention, Johnson would have a decent value on the trade market because he is still young himself and has shown some flashes of good cornerback play. If the Bears want to fully commit to their youth movement and have enough faith in the young guys in their secondary, Jaylon Johnson could be in a trade by training camp.
Nathan Peterman is what one would call an NFL journeyman at the quarterback position. He looks like he will be a perennial backup quarterback on rosters across the NFL, and his time on the Bears roster looks like it could be coming to an end fairly soon. Ryan Poles went out and signed PJ Walker to be the primary backup to Justin Fields this year, and the similar style between the two quarterbacks is apparent. In order to maximize the Bears offense this year, they are obviously building a system that is geared to support a mobile quarterback. At third on the depth chart, the Bears really might not have a use for Peterman anymore. It's not like they could get much in return for Peterman given the rough start to his career, but they mind as well try to make a trade since it is essentially an impossibility that he makes a difference for the Bears this year. Out of all three guys, Nathan Peterman is probably the most likely to be in a trade by the Bears by training camp.