Since the end of the Bears' season in January, they made it pretty clear Justin Fields would be the starting quarterback for the 2023 season.
"We had good conversations. I'm excited for the direction he's going," Poles said of Fields in early January. "As I mentioned before, he knows where he has to improve. I think he mentioned that the other day. So we're excited about his development and where he goes next."
MORE: Poles: Bears must be 'blown away' to draft QB at No. 1
Yet, to one NFL analyst, clarifying their commitment to Fields this offseason is a grave mistake, considering they have the No. 1 pick at their disposal. If they want to receive interested suitors for a trade-down scenario, they must implement the idea that they are interested in selecting a quarterback.
"If they're going to trade that first overall pick, in order to do it, they have to make it look like they're interested in that quarterback because, 'Hey, quarterback-hungry teams! Hey, teams that fall head over heels for any of these quarterbacks – you better come to us,'" NFL Network's Rich Eisen said on The Rich Eisen Show. "'Hey, Houston. You want one of these quarterbacks for DeMeco Ryans, your new head coach. You want one of these? You got to come up one spot.'"
"They are going to have to make it seem like they are interested in all the quarterbacks out there. They're going to work them out. They're going to bring them in for visits. "
Eisen is working off the report Albert Breer recently delivered on his show, declaring he expects the Bears to commit to Fields and trade the first overall pick. However, confusingly, Breer said at the end of the report, "They're either gonna try to get somebody to trade for that pick or take Jalen Carter or Will Anderson."
So, which is it? Trade the pick, or draft a player?
MORE: Breer: Bears likely keep Fields, try to trade No. 1 pick
Either way, Eisen feels the Bears need to throw a smoke screen for teams to believe they are interested in taking a quarterback with the No. 1 pick, thus worrying quarterback-hungry teams around the league that one prospect could be off the board with the first pick.
To accomplish this, Eisen feels the Bears need to put on an Academy Award-caliber performance. Work out the quarterback prospects in the 2023 NFL draft and leak their interest in selecting a quarterback. Keeping Fields privy to their strategy is of the utmost importance, of course.
"Even if they tell Justin Fields, 'We love you,' or whatever. We just got to get the most of that first overall pick," Eisen said. "So, don't take it personally or get upset if we bring in your successor at Ohio State in C.J. Stroud, if we bring in Bryce Young, if we bring in [Will] Levis and we do it all and we're asked about it and we make it seem like we're interested. We're only doing that to drive up the price.
"That's what they have to tell Justin Fields."