Chicago Bears

CJ Stroud’s NFL Draft decision could benefit Chicago Bears

Credit: Todd Kirkland-Getty Images

Top quarterback prospect C.J. Stroud has yet to enter his name into the upcoming 2023 NFL draft. This could ultimately lead to Chicago’s No.1 pick being more coveted than ever.

Stroud has until Monday, Jan. 16 to declare for the draft. However, he could end up returning for his senior year at Ohio State as many speculate a massive NIL deal in place.

NIL, short for name, image, likeness, was implemented by the NCAA in 2021, allowing college athletes to earn money from the name, image, and likeness. Now, a NIL deal could lead to another year of Stroud at Ohio State, and a blockbuster trade for the Bears.

The Bears secured the rights to the first overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, courtesy of Lovie Smith and the Texans winning their final game of the season. That Texans’ win set up the Bears to possibly trade that No.1 pick to a quarterback-needy team.

In an already average quarterback class, Stroud’s pending decision to return to school could boost the value of the No.1 pick substantially. With the Bears hoping they have their franchise quarterback in budding star Justin Fields, General Manager Ryan Poles will most likely look to move their pick for a massive haul.

So if Stroud decides to return to school, that leaves Alabama’s Bryce Young, Kentucky’s Will Levis, and Florida’s Anthony Richardson atop of the 23′ quarterback class.

Teams such as the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Las Vegas Raiders could look to move up in order to secure the draft’s top quarterback prospect, Young. The Texans sit at the No.2 spot in the NFL draft, along with an extra first-round pick from the Browns. Acquired in the Deshaun Watson deal, this pick sits at No.13. With the draft capital to do so, expect the Texans to look into moving up one spot to secure their desired quarterback.

With the Bears entering the offseason with the most cap space in the NFL, sitting at $97,405,199, General Manager Poles has the opportunity to turn the franchises’ future outlook around, and the possible massive haul for the draft’s No.1 pick could be the icing on the cake.

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