Colts tip their hand in potential Chicago Bears trade

Indianapolis Colts-Mandatory Credit: The Indianapolis Star
Indianapolis Colts-Mandatory Credit: The Indianapolis Star /

On Tuesday, the Indianapolis Colts officially filled their head coaching vacancy, announcing the hiring of former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen. The only takeaway for the Chicago Bears is that the value of the first-overall pick seems to be pretty high.

Trade between Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts seems like a real possibility

Steichen comes to Indianapolis with over 10 years of experience in the NFL as an assistant for the Eagles and the Los Angeles Chargers. The former offensive coordinator is known for his ability to develop young quarterbacks, specifically Jalen Hurts and Justin Herbert. It seems like this will be one of his key responsibilities in Indianapolis.

During Steichen’s introductory press conference on Tuesday, the new coach took the podium alongside general manager Chris Ballard and team owner Jim Irsay. While the majority of the media session focused on the direction of the new regime and Steichen’s resume as a coach, Jim Irsay seemed to let the cat out of the bag in regards to the team’s focus in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft.

When asked exactly when Ballard and Irsay knew that Steichen was going to be their coach going forward, Jim Irsay explained that the team interviewed a number of highly-qualified candidates, but explained that Steichen “had a lot of that offensive magic, which is hard to find in this league.”

Offense, in my mind, can be a little more complex and takes a longer time to develop, knowing that we’re going to have to find a quarterback to develop”. Upon the mention and insinuation that the team will be focused on drafting their franchise quarterback in this year’s draft, Ballard whipped his head in the direction of the team owner, almost as if he was surprised by that remark.

Later, Jim Irsay continued with a similar sentiment, stating:

"“No one can shy away from the fact [of] what [having a] quarterback means in this league, and how we have to look going forward, where Shane and Chris really, you know, dig into this draft and really see where you’re at. Do you stay put, do you trade up, you know, there are many things you can do”. Perhaps to save face as a potential bidder for the Chicago Bears’ first overall pick, Ballard interjected that the team could trade back, to which Irsay responded, “[Ballard] likes picks, although the Alabama guy doesn’t look bad, I tell you.”"

On Wednesday morning, Irsay took to Twitter to respond to the backlash that the team has faced due to them openly stating their desires in this year’s draft, jokingly pointing out his long “relationship” with the Chicago Bears:

Clearly, it appears that the Colts brass is determined to draft a quarterback in this offseason’s draft, and that can only mean good things for the Chicago Bears. If Indianapolis is interested in trading up for the first-overall pick, one would have to believe that Ryan Poles could leverage this media session to get the absolute most out of the Colts in a trade-down scenario.

Additionally, it puts the rest of the league on notice that the Colts are looking to draft a quarterback in a class that has likely a maximum of four players that could go in the top ten. Now, quarterback-needy franchises such as the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, and the AFC South rival Houston Texans have an inside look into the Colts’ priorities this April. As the draft inches closer and closer daily, the Chicago Bears will potentially have a number of teams eager to trade up to the first overall spot.