Is the Difference Between Caleb Williams and the Rest of the Pack Really That Great? And Other Points of View.

Everyone seems to think WR Keenan Allen is only a one-year deal barring an extension. The Bears spent more than a franchise tag would cost for a WR in 2024. So couldn’t they tag him next year if they don’t draft (or have success with) a WR? It would equate to about 2 years and $45 million total.** — @duhbearscar

Anything is possible, but if you look at the history of the franchise tag, it’s hard to find many examples of players entering Year 13 getting that treatment, especially wide receivers. The tag for wide receivers could get a decent bump in 2025 if players such as Justin Jefferson, CeeDee Lamb and Brandon Aiyuk, among others, sign new contracts.

If Allen has another super-productive season, and certainly that’s the hope, the Bears could entertain the idea of a one-year deal. They’d be paying for future production — not past performance — and would have to feel strongly that he would be worth north of $20 million in 2025. There would have to be some kind of gap in negotiations for it to lead to a tag situation.

Keep in mind the Bears could desire at least the availability of the tag for left guard Teven Jenkins. Of course, that would be hugely dependent on his performance in Year 4 and the state of negotiations (assuming there is an attempt at them). I’d say chances of Allen being tagged in 2025 are low.

One other thing to consider here is the matter of the compensatory pick if the Bears simply let Allen hit the market.

The Bears traded a fourth round pick for Allen. The compensatory pick after a good year by Allen would allow them to get that back and they would have gotten him for one year only at the price of his $23 million salary.

It’s not my money but I think that would still be a pretty good deal.

If one of the top three receivers, Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers or Rome Odunze, is available after Tennessee picks at No. 7, do you think it’s likely that the Jets or some other team with a lower pick will try to trade up and beat the Bears to such WR?** — Jerry L., Chicago

That’s an interesting question and my hunch is one of those receivers will be on the board at No. 8. I would be pretty surprised if three came off in the top seven picks. Bear in mind, three wide receivers never have been selected in the top eight picks in the history of the draft.

Figure three quarterbacks, two receivers and one offensive tackle will go in the top seven picks. That means one more quarterback, one more O-lineman, one defensive player or a wild card such as Georgia tight end Brock Bowers has to come off the board to leave a receiver sitting there at No. 8.

Could someone be motivated to move ahead of the Bears? Sure. Would the Atlanta Falcons be willing to trade out of No. 8 with a team seeking to move up for a receiver? You have to think the Falcons would listen. Could the Bears jump up one spot in that scenario? It depends on who the receiver is and the price of the move. You present a compelling scenario, and it’s possible we’ll see a good bit of wheeling and dealing in the top 10

The problem is that Atlanta needs an edge rusher. If they want Dallas Turner they’re not going to be able to trade back too far. That’s going to limit their options. In terms of getting a partner.

If that happens, then a wide receiver, probably Odunze, will be available for the Bears to take at #9. The consensus seems to be that they will stick there in that case and take him and that’s probably what they would do. But it really depends upon what separation, if any, you see between Odunze and the next group of wide receivers.

Its reportedly a deep wide receiver group. Furthermore, you could argue that such a pick would be an example of future planning. You’d be taking a guys to develop while Keenan Allen serves his year with the Bears. So he wouldn’t necessarily need to perform at a super high level right away.

Is the reason most people don’t keep Brock Bowers’ name in the talk about the No. 9 pick because of the rookie pay scale for top-10 picks? As a follow-up, could you explain the scale for us heathens? I know it’s complex, just a spitball kind of explanation is good enough. — Tim G.

The issue is positional value. If Bowers is the 10th pick, he would command a fully guaranteed salary of roughly $21.3 million over four years. Compared with what the elite tight ends earn (the top five average about $15 million per year), there isn’t as much surplus value as you’d get if you drafted a wide receiver, an offensive tackle or certainly a quarterback when you look at what the top players at those positions are paid.

It’s an interesting discussion and it comes down to how teams value Bowers. Do they believe he can be as productive as the league’s top players at the position?

Yes, it’s an interesting question but, personally, I very much doubt that this kind of thing is factoring too much into the decisions teams are making.

If you need a tight end and you’re going to be using one on the field for a good percentage of the plays, then there isn’t a lot of reason not to take one in the top 10. If you believe in him, of course. How good player is should certainly trump everything else.

The question as to be whether Bowers is good enough to be a different maker rather than the question of the amount of money that you’ll save on a rookie contract. If you think he’s a difference maker you take him regardless.

I might add that Bowers probably isn’t mentioned much in connection with the #9 overall pick because the Bears are pretty much set at tight end with Gerald Everett and Cole Kmet. The chances that they would spring for another tight end that high seem very low to me.

  • One more final question for Biggs:

With this being the year of the QB, why are the Bears so enamored with Caleb Williams? I am not sure if he will be Tom Brady or Peter Tom Willis, but I do know that history is rife with “can’t miss” busts in the draft. I cannot understand not trading down at least to No. 2 and garnering some other draft capital. If Williams turns out to be Hall of Fame worthy and the QB the Bears take at No. 2 is only good, but they also are able to get more picks for the draft this year or next, what’s the foul? — Scott B.

In basketball terms, you’re looking at a technical foul. In hockey terms, you’re looking at a match penalty. In baseball, it would be an ejection, the ol’ heave-ho.

I don’t care what kind of draft capital the Bears could acquire from the Washington Commanders for moving down from No. 1 to No. 2 if it’s a difference between “Hall of Fame worthy” and “only good.” A Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback could have the Bears positioned to be a Super Bowl contender for a decade. A good quarterback could help put them in the playoff mix when the rest of the roster is pretty good and healthy.

Elite quarterbacks raise the level of play of everyone around them. I don’t know how Williams will perform as a rookie. I don’t know how developed his game will be in 2026. I do know the Bears have royally screwed up the position time and time again, and this opportunity comes at the intersection of a calculated move by Ryan Poles last year and some serial mismanagement by the Carolina Panthers. That’s good fortune that needs to be put to use.

I, along with most people, agree with Biggs here. If the difference is between Hall of Fame or the and good, it’s malpractice not to take the Hall of Fame worthy.

The problem is that, like the questioner, I’m not so sure that is the difference. My impression is that Caleb Williams isn’t the kind of sure thing that some of the other quarterbacks that have come out were. Think Andrew Luck. But Williams is certainly being treated like he is.

It isn’t a question of whether it’s the difference between Hall of Fame worthy and good. It’s a question of whether it’s the difference between good and good.

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