DeForest Buckner is a prime trade target for the Chicago Bears
With the NFL Combine officially underway in Indianapolis, the Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles took to the stand to answer questions about the team's offseason plans, including free agency and trade-down scenarios.
Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles hints at trade timeline in press conference
Poles answered a number of questions in response to the first-overall pick and the team's plan going forward. He noted an interesting detail in regard to the timeline of a potential trade-down scenario. Poles stated that "there are some scenarios that it might benefit us to move [down] before free agency opens potentially...there are scenarios where we could add players, as well".
The Bears, if they do end up trading back, will likely look to gain draft capital for 2023, 2024, and potentially beyond. However, there are still clear options to potentially add players who have already established themselves as productive NFL players.
When looking at the list of teams that would likely be willing to trade up with the Bears, the teams include the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, and potentially many more. Any player involved in this trade would likely be a defensive player, as a team moving up for a quarterback probably wouldn't ship a receiver or offensive lineman away in such a deal.
Assuming that a defensive player could end up being a part of a trade-down, Colts defensive tackle Deforest Buckner seems to make the most sense. From the Colts' perspective, giving up Buckner and picks for their franchise quarterback could be the best-case scenario, as they could hold onto key offensive players such as Quenton Nelson and Michael Pittman, Jr. while giving up a defensive tackle, a position that already has some depth with Grover Stewart.
From the Bears' perspective, adding Buckner would help out this young defense tremendously. First of all, Buckner is a true 3-tech defensive tackle who could really create some disruption upfront - especially when considering his 6'7" and 290 lbs frame. Additionally, Matt Eberflus, who was the Colts' defensive coordinator from 2018-2021, was a part of the regime that sent a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft for the former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle.
Between a potential reunion with his former defensive coordinator and being an immediate upgrade for a Bears' defense that has plenty of holes on their roster, adding the soon to be 29 year old Buckner in a pre-free agency trade could be a win-win scenario for both teams. The Chicago Bears would then be able to focus on other positions of need, especially with the Washington Commanders recently franchise-tagging defensive tackle Daron Payne, who would have otherwise likely been a main focus for Chicago in free agency.