Players Bears Could Use to Sweeten Any Deal

Sometimes it takes more than draft picks to close out a trade and with the Bears looking for a quarterback but limited in draft picks to trade, there are some current players who can carry value in a deal.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Carson Wentz standoff continues, if there actually is one.

There could also be talks behind the scenes about other trades, possibly for Sam Darnold or Derek Carr, but no one who really knows has acknowledged Bears involvement in any of this.

If the Bears do acquire a quarterback, the most-sought commodity in all trades is draft picks. It doesn't have to be this way, though. The early rumors of a Bears offer to the Philadelphia Eagles involved draft picks and also players, notably Nick Foles and even running back Tarik Cohen.

One made much more sense than the other. Foles has obvious past ties to Philadelphia but Cohen is coming off an ACL tear.

There are players the Bears could throw into any trade package to sweeten it for the Eagles or any other team in need of help.

Here are the most tradeable players the Bears currently have.

1. Guard James Daniels

The Talent: The 2018 second-round Bears draft pick is coming off of an injury but it was a torn pectoral muscle and it shouldn't be a factor going forward because it occurred in October. Daniels has allowed only one sack in his three seasons and Pro Football Focus has noted how he has been at his best when focusing on playing guard rather than center. They have given him steady, solid grades through his career and had him on their all-rookie team in 2018.

Daniels would be expendable if the Bears decided they needed something else, like a quarterback.

They put together an offensive line in desperation last year that worked with Daniels out of the lineup. Alex Bars played right guard and Cody Whitehair left guard. It's been thought Daniels would take the right guard spot this season but if the Bears decided to stick with Bars and trade Daniels, they still could retain depth because they drafted two seventh-round guard/tackles last year—Lachavious Simmons and Arlington Hambright—and they could also sign back Germain Ifedi, who was a tackle at the end of last season.

Daniels is in the final year of his rookie contract and the acquiring team could use this to lock up a long-term deal for him while having savings against this year's cap.

A team like Philadelphia with pass blocking issues last year could always use another lineman, although the problems the Eagles had last year mostly revolved around tackle or losing guard Seaumalo Isaac to a knee injury. Also, center Jason Kelce could retire before this season according to Ed Kracz with Eagles Maven. Daniels can be a center or guard.

The Raiders' starting left guard is Richie Incognito, who is 37 years old. So it's reasonable to think Las Vegas could use a left guard in a deal for Derek Carr, although the rumors say they want two first-round picks so they can be traded to Houston for Deshaun Watson. The rumor world doesn't always work like the real world.

When you trade, you do it from a position of strength. The Bears look to be both deep and solid at guard. If they wanted to do this and then replace Daniels, it would be simple in t

2. Cornerback Kyle Fuller

It's the last year of salary on Fuller's contract and a team acquiring him could easily give him a longer-term deal and make absorbing his cash easier. It would be a little tougher to deal Fuller than Hicks because his remaining prorated bonus money would hit the Bears hard immediately with $9 million in dead-cap cash. So the savings overall from losing his $13 million contract wouldn't be huge. Fuller still covers well, although his play in 2020 dropped off from what it had been in 2018 and 2019 when he was a Pro Bowl player.

3. Defensive end Akiem Hicks

Hicks' veteran contract is obviously much larger than Daniels' is and not an easy fit under most caps. However, it would be easy for the Bears to trade him because it's almost all cash and is entering the final year of the contract. He is due $10.4 million in unguaranteed salary. Because it isn't guaranteed, Hicks' deal can easily be extended so someone who wants a 31-year-old mountain of a 3-4 defensive end could give him a longer-term contract. A team on the verge of something big in need of a run plug with pass-rush value could possess an interest. The Bears should have their heads examined if they dealt Hicks because they could easily restructure his contract and let him retire as a Bear in several years. Besides, it's almost impossible to find players who can impact the game from the interior of the line the way he can.

4. Defensive lineman Bilal Nichols

Nichols' versatility gives him great value to a 3-4 defensive team but he could also play three-technique in a 4-3 scheme. The contract situation is of no concern. Like Daniels, he is in the final year of his deal and it would give a new team the chance to determine his value.

5. Linebacker Roquan Smith

The Bears wouldn't trade him. They have a fifth-year option to decide on this spring for him but that seems a foregone conclusion after his standout play last season before a second straight season-ending injury. Smith's high upside makes him good trade bait. He's still on the rookie contract, too. However, players of his ability do not get traded at this stage of their careers unless the franchise is being gutted in a complete rebuild.

6. Wide Receiver Anthony Miller

Miller's antics against the Saints in the playoffs aside, a team with wide receiver problems could certainly use him. For that matter, the Bears need him until they can have confidence they have a satisfactory alternative. Like Daniels, he is entering the final year of his contract and it can't hurt his value. Riley Ridley or Javon Wims could perform this role next year if Miller is dealt. Miller is on his rookie contract, so this isn't a problem for teams to absorb his deal into their cap situation.

The problem with Miller has been inconsistency. He'll go several games making a large number of catches for big yards, then vanish for several games. He has risen to the occasion in big moments, like the win over Atlanta and Detroit last season.

7. Quarterback Nick Foles

A few teams might like him as a backup option or the competitor for a starting job. His contract is a bit steep for a backup but not for a starter. In three of his last four years, Foles' passer rating has dipped below 85. So, his value would be marginal. Any Eagles interest in him is obvious, since he won them a Super Bowl.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven