The Chicago Bears have the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft but they almost certainly won’t end up using it.

Chicago will likely trade the No. 1 pick due to the fact that the franchise has Justin Fields and doesn’t need a quarterback.

The Bears are already in a good spot to trade the pick because numerous teams will want to jump ahead of the Houston Texans (they have the No. 2 pick and they need a quarterback).

And they could be in an even better spot early next week with the No. 1 pick.

That’s because there appears to be a chance that Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud, one of the consensus top two quarterbacks in the 2023 draft (along with Alabama’s Bryce Young), could return to college for one more season.

Stroud has yet to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft and the deadline is Monday.

There’s speculation that Ohio State could be putting together a lucrative NIL deal to keep Stroud in Columbus for one more season.

If Stroud stays at Ohio State for one more season, it’ll make the No. 1 pick significantly more valuable because there will be one less elite quarterback option available.

At that point, even the Texans might be willing to give the Bears a lot for the No. 1 pick to keep other teams from moving up to draft Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (Houston would probably want to keep the Indianapolis Colts from moving up to draft Young, or maybe even the Tennessee Titans, who have the No. 11 pick and might need a quarterback if they move on from Ryan Tannehill).

My gut says Stroud ends up declaring for the draft — it would be a huge risk to return to Ohio State when he knows he’ll likely be a top-two pick. But it’s also odd that he hasn’t declared yet, so I don’t think we can rule it out.

The Bears are in a good spot either way. But if Stroud returns to the Buckeyes, it’s going to set off an insane bidding war for the No. 1 pick.

Featured image via Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

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