Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles and Pittsburgh Steelers GM Omar Khan are quite familiar with each other, especially when it comes to trades.
The pair already came together on one trade with Khan sending wide receiver Chase Claypool to the Bears at the trade deadline last season and Poles sending back a second-round pick. That pick, of course, turned out to be the first pick of the second round.
Knowing that, maybe Poles will be hesitant to get involved in trade talks with Khan and the Steelers again. But based on recent reports that the Steelers have contacted the Bears and one other team in recent weeks about a move up, could the pair strike a deal again?
According to NFL.com’s Cynthia Frelund, a proposed Steelers-Bears first-round swap with Pittsburgh moving up to No. 9 overall to grab an offensive lineman would be a “win-win scenario” for the Steelers and the Bears.
“I did my master’s thesis on the value of offensive linemen. I believe the amount of time I spent studying the trenches — as well as going back and forth between math experts, computer vision experts and legendary football minds — makes my models on this subject very strong,” Frelund writes regarding the win-win scenario between the Steelers and Bears. “This value is reflected in this scenario for the Steelers, who have the opportunity to select one of the top three tackles, with the highest probability of landing No. 2. Swapping with the Bears to jump ahead of the Eagles, Titans and Jets gives second-year quarterback Kenny Pickett the best odds to help his offense add enough complementary value to Pittsburgh’s always exceptional defensive strategy. The Steelers also still have No. 32 (the first pick in Round 2) to address high-value needs.”
In the “win-win scenario” the Steelers move up to No. 9 overall and trade away No. 17 overall to Chicago and No. 49 overall in the second round, making it a reasonable trade for the Bears to move down another eight picks after already moving out of the No. 1 slot earlier in the offseason.
After an aggressive offseason that saw the Steelers fill a number of holes on the roster in free agency and via a recent trade, Pittsburgh enters the 2023 NFL Draft in an interesting position. The Steelers have glaring need, and the ammo to potentially swing a trade and move up in the first round to secure a player that they covet, like Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. or Georgia’s Broderick Jones along the offensive line, or maybe even Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter.
The smart move would be to continue to invest around Pickett and provide the second-year quarterback with some high-end protection in the trade up though, were the Steelers to do that.
Ultimately, it would be a win-win on paper for the Steelers and Bears as Pittsburgh would move up for a player it covets, while the Bears continue to stockpile picks under Poles and address major holes in a rather large rebuild in the Windy City.