Analyzing the financial impact of the Chicago Bears draft class

Chicago Bears, Syndication: York Daily Record
Chicago Bears, Syndication: York Daily Record /
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Chicago Bears, Justin Fields
Chicago Bears – Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

Ryan Poles was able to turn six draft picks into 11 before the 2022 NFL Draft was over. These 11 players will now compete on the 90-man roster during OTAs, minicamps and training camp to earn a spot on the final 53-man roster. Thanks to a rebuilding year, the Chicago Bears will not have much depth on the roster and this gives even the team’s seventh-round draft picks ample opportunity to stick around or at least make the practice squad.

With the rookie wage scale in place now, we already know what the Chicago Bears will be paying each of their new draft picks. This allows us to take a look at how the new players can affect the team’s salary cap. With the amount of money that the Bears have pending for 2023, one might be wondering why we should care about how the rookies are going to affect the salary cap. Well, it’s more than just the overall money involved. We are going to see how each of the new players helps or hurts in more specific ways.

How will the rookie draft picks affect the Chicago Bears financial future?

As you may have guessed, teams are less likely to trade back now in the first round just because they are concerned about the cost of their first-round draft picks. When we go back to the old ways, we see rookie contracts like what the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams paid Sam Bradford when he was drafted. He was the highest-paid rookie ever and signed a $76 million dollar contract. A contract he never lived up to after two torn ACL injuries and subpar QB play.

This has led to many teams taking the approach of going all-in on building up the team at other positions while having a quarterback still on their rookie deal. We saw Ryan Pace try to do this with Mitch Trubisky. We saw the Bengals do it with Joe Burrow. We have seen it with many teams over the last 10 years or so and we are likely to now see it with Ryan Poles and Justin Fields.

The Chicago Bears don’t have many huge contracts on the books now that they moved on from Khalil Mack. Robert Quinn and Eddie Jackson are the top two, but Roquan Smith will likely earn a hefty contract between the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Having rookie contracts helps teams offset those types of contracts. Let’s look at the contracts of the Bears’ 2022 NFL Draft picks and see what important notes we can take from them.