If Mike Tannenbaum were in Ryan Poles’ situation, the former Jets general manager would trade Justin Fields and snag Alabama quarterback Bryce Young with the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Tannenbaum, in a segment on ESPN’s “Get Up” on Tuesday, said he still thinks Fields will be a “good quarterback” — and maybe even someone who can crack the NFL’s top 10 at the position — but the return Poles, the Bears’ GM, could get would help Chicago build around Young.
“When I (trade Fields) and get at least a first- and a third-round pick, I’m resetting Bryce Young’s rookie contract and I’m going to be able to get at least four starting caliber players,” Tannenbaum said.
Tannenbaum compared the possible situation to the Jaguars, who have quarterback Trevor Lawrence on his rookie deal and signed pieces like wideout Christian Kirk, offensive lineman Brandon Scherff and tight end Evan Engram to fill their offensive unit around the former No. 1 pick from Clemson. Jacksonville closed the 2022 season with wins in seven of its final nine games to snag the AFC South title from the Titans, making the playoffs in head coach Doug Pederson’s first season.
“So I can turn Justin Fields into basically six quality players and get Bryce Young, who I think will be the better player, I’m making that move if I’m the Bears,” said Tannenbaum, who was the Jets GM from 2006 through 2012.
Fields flashed star potential during his second NFL season, despite going 3-12 as a starter. He ran for 1,143 yards and eight touchdowns — stringing together explosive rushes — while throwing for another 17 scored under first-year offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and head coach Matt Eberflus.
While at Alabama, Young threw for 3,328 yards and 32 touchdowns in his third collegiate season. He rushed for another four touchdowns to finish with 87 total scores across his three-year career with the Crimson Tide, which ended with a victory over Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl.
The Bears clinched the No. 1 pick when the Texans converted a late 2-point conversion to defeat the Colts, losing their grasp on the top pick in the process.