Is Trading Down an Option?

With the draft less than two weeks away, rumors are starting to heat up around the league. The Redskins are scouting players who will be off the board by the time they're on the clock. After coming up on the short end against Washington in free agency, the Bears are in position to strike a deal with the financially irresponsible team from the nation's capital.

Washington has visited with players such as Florida State cornerback Antonio Cromartie, Miami CB Kelly Jennings and Alabama linebacker DeMeco Ryans. In fact, the Redskins have been talking almost exclusively talking to cornerbacks and linebackers that will be drafted somewhere between the 25th and 40th slots. Since their first pick is at No. 53, it appears Washington is looking to trade up into the late part of the first round.

The Bears own the 26th overall selection and would likely to be in a position to take any of the three players on Washington's radar. The question is there be enough incentive for the Bears to drop back 27 slots in return for an additional first round pick next year?

The reason it would be the 2007 draft is because the Redskins next pick is not until the fifth round. In more recent years with Joe Gibbs in charge Washington has dealt away selections in the following year's draft to tab TE Chris Cooley in 2004 and QB Jason Campbell last year.

With two second round selections the Bears would be sacrificing something now for the chance to be in great shape next off-season. For a team trying to make a Super Bowl run in 2006 there would likely be a public backlash from trading down.

However, there are two factors that would influence general manager Jerry Angelo's decision.

If the Bears were able to ink Lance Briggs to a contract extension, linebacker would be less of a priority early in the draft. Signing restricted free agent CB Ricky Manning Jr. to an offer sheet is the second part of the equation. The Carolina Panthers would have seven days to match a potential deal for Manning or receive the Bears third round pick as compensation.

By taking care of linebacker and cornerback before the draft, Angelo could then address tight end and possibly receiver with multiple choices in the second round. It's an unlikely scenario, but one he should consider if certain things are accomplished by the time the Bears are on the clock.

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