The Chicago Bears will probably end up using all of the draft picks they have left in 2019. This constitutes a total of five including 3rd, 4th, 5th, and two 7th rounders. GM Ryan Pace has made good use of later picks before so there’s a reason to think he can find a few hidden gems this year despite being so limited.
Except this could be a year the Bears can compete for a championship. Should Pace be thinking about ways he can find players who can contribute right away? This brings up an interesting idea. Since he’s already traded both the 1st and 2nd rounders this year, he could do the same with the 3rd rounder.
Deal it for a potential player who can help the team immediately. Does history show this as a viable alternative? Here is the extended list of every time a team traded their 3rd round pick for a player going all the way back to 2000 and the results that followed.
Golden Tate to the Philadelphia Eagles
The wide receiver had a great run in Detroit but his contract was coming up. He produced 238 yards and a TD in eight games for Philadelphia but did have the game-winning TD catch against the Bears in the wild card round.
Martavis Bryant to the Oakland Raiders
The mercurial wide receiver got himself in trouble almost immediately after the Raiders traded for him. He only appeared in eight games, catching 19 passes for 266 yards.
Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns
A former Pro Bowler who helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl in 2014. Battled injury his first full year with the team but rebounded for 104 tackles and four sacks last season.
Greg Olsen to the Carolina Panthers
One of the biggest steals of the past decade and a blight on Bears history. Olsen became a star for Carolina, reaching three Pro Bowls and catching 472 passes for 5,866 yards and 37 touchdowns. His 2015 playoff performance was a big reason they reached the Super Bowl.
Kamerion Wimbley to the Oakland Raiders
It was hoped he’d help give some juice to the Raiders pass rush and he did for the most part. In two seasons he produced 16 sacks which were most on the team over that span.
Travis Henry to the Tennessee Titans
The trade looked like a flop during the running back’s first year in Tennessee as he missed six games with injury. He rebounded though in 2006, going for 1,211 yards and seven TDs.
Ricky Manning Jr. to the Chicago Bears
This was technically a trade but it’s the same thing. The Bears signed Manning Jr. as a restricted free agent and gave the Panthers a pick as compensation. He had five interceptions in his first year with the team and helped them reach Super Bowl XLI.
Nate Burleson to the Seattle Seahawks
Another restricted free agent situation where the Vikings were compensated when Burleson signed with Seattle. In four seasons he caught 136 passes for 1,758 yards and 15 touchdowns. The final year was his best with 812 yards.
Lamar Gordon to the Miami Dolphins
Made it three games before being knocked out for the 2004 season with injury. Averaged 1.8 yards per carry in those three games.
Drew Henson to the Dallas Cowboys
Houston held the rights to Henson and the Cowboys gave them a 3rd rounder in the deal to exchange them. Henson started one game for Dallas, going 10-of-18 for 78 yards, one TD and one interception.
Mark Brunell to the Washington Redskins
In his mid-30s by this point, the Redskins were hoping the former Pro Bowler had something left. His first season wasn’t very good, missing seven games. In 2005 though he topped 3,000 yards, threw 23 touchdowns and Washington made the playoffs.
Willie Roaf to the Kansas City Chiefs
People thought the left tackle was done by 2002. This due to missing nine games the year before with injury. They were very wrong. He played four years for Kansas City, making four Pro Bowls and helping their offense rank top five every single season.
James McKnight to the Dallas Cowboys
It really looked like the Cowboys had struck gold in 2000 when they traded for McKnight. Despite playing with three different QBs, he had 926 yards. By far his career-high. Then just like that they let him walk in free agency after one season.
All in all, teams who take this approach actually trend more on the productive side with the players they get, at least in the short-term. The question every Bears fan will inevitably ask though is whether that’s really worth it. Wouldn’t it be better to take their chances on scoring a hit in the draft? Well, decide for yourself. Here’s every 3rd round pick the Bears have made since the year 2000.
Looking at the list, there are 20 players overall and only one of them could be considered an above average starter. Granted Lance Briggs was an outstanding player, but the odds of hitting on another player of that caliber this late in the draft are remote. So it comes down to preference.
Would you rather draft a player that has a low probability of becoming good but has a chance for long-term success? Or would you trade the pick for a player with less shelf life but a higher chance of being a quality contributor? It’s something the Bears should at least ponder over the next two months.