The Chicago Bears already clearly know where their off-season plans sit going into 2023. It’s a safe bet they’ll end up with a top 10 pick, probably top five if they lose three of their remaining four games. They also hold well over $100 million in salary cap space. GM Ryan Poles will be well-equipped to bring significant talent upgrades to his roster. However, the additional resources might not be over yet. There are reasons to think the Bears could have some extra draft picks coming their way.
It was already discussed how the team might receive an additional 7th round compensatory selection due to the formula rewarding fewer than 32 picks this year. It is a rare occurrence but one they might take advantage of. Things don’t end there. A possibility exists the Bears might end up with two more picks, one in 2023 and another in 2024. This stems from the status of assistant GM Ian Cunningham. As a candidate of minority heritage, another team hiring him as their GM would net the Bears two 3rd round picks. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Cunningham will attend a Front Office Accelerator in Dallas to meet with team owners and executives.
The Chicago Bears may have to prepare for life without Cunningham.
One of the reasons Poles hired him was their personal relationship going back years. However, another reason was Cunningham is very good at what he does. He’s had success everywhere he’s been, from Baltimore to Philadelphia. He was already on GM radars before he even got to Chicago. It’t be a shock if somebody wouldn’t hired him for that role next month, even with the Bears being in the first year of a rebuild. His reputation was already established. While it would be an unfortunate loss, it would give Poles more ammunition to remake the roster.
As of writing this, the Chicago Bears have eight picks in the 2023 draft. If both these scenarios go through, they will end up with 10. That would give them the flexibility to move around the board, seeking the best prospects possible. Remember, Poles went into the 2022 draft with six picks and ended up with 11. It wouldn’t be surprising if he looked to keep stockpiling more with trades. As the season draws to a close, be sure to keep this scenario in the back of your mind. It could prove important.