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Could The Bears Draft Anthony Richardson At #9 And Trade Justin Fields?

James Gilbert. Getty Images.

In listening to the Move The Sticks podcast with Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks, they floated out a complete chaos situation that has to have at least been a discussion with Ryan Poles, Matt Eberflus and the Bears brass. The Bears obviously have already traded down from #1 to #9 and gotten a haul for it. But it's worth a discussion to see what if they drafted Anthony Richardson at #9 and traded Justin Fields. 

The prime reason for the discussion would be resetting the Quarterback clock as far as rookie deals. Justin Fields was the 11th overall pick in the 2021 draft. He is under contract this year with a cap number of $5.15M. Next year he's on the books for $6.00M. His fifth year option, assuming it's picked up, which will be a reasonable number relative to his peers at his position (Lamar Jackson's is $23M this coming season). After that, he'll likely get a contract in-line with other top signal callers, likely in the $50M/year range. 

The argument for Richardson would be his deal as the 9th pick in this scenario would be slotted. His cap number would be roughly: $4M, $5M, $6M, $7M, and his 5th year option, which would again be affordable. So if the Bears did this, they'd be looking at savings of:

2023: ~$1M

2024: ~$1M

2025: ~$17-$20M

2026: ~$43M

2027: ~$20-$25M

With those savings, you could bring in some big time free agents and pay your own guys too.

Fields of course was not a pick by the current regime. He was a Ryan Pace/Matt Nagy selection. Both of those guys are gone and the current pairing of Poles/Eberflus would have their chance to get their guy and reset the clock on their QB. As far as skill set, Fields is definitely more polished as a passer, but Richardson offers a similar skill set with his legs that Fields does.

Jeremiah pushed that for them to not do this, they'd have to think that Fields was not just better than Richardson in their system, but he'd have to be significantly better. Is that the case? I'm a big Justino guy so I would not pull the trigger on this pick, but I do see the value of playing the moneyball way and using that money you save from the Fields next contract on other free agents to improve your team. It's certainly a chaotic scenario that you can't 100% rule out.