Bears general manager Ryan Poles knows the identity of the No. 1 overall pick, but two days before the 2024 NFL Draft, he’s not quite ready to share.

“We know what we’re going to do,” Poles said Tuesday at a pre-draft press conference. “Everyone’s gotta tune in on Thursday to watch.”

The Bears hold the No. 1 pick via a trade with the Carolina Panthers and draft night in Detroit will bring Poles’ two-year plan to fruition when quarterback Caleb Williams, the Heisman Trophy winner in 2022, likely becomes the third player drafted first overall in Chicago’s storied history.

Beyond the ever-present smoke around the Bears and Williams, there are other reasons the majority opinion holds merit. Chicago has only two quarterbacks on the current depth chart — undrafted Tyson Bagent and journeyman backup Brett Rypien — making the position a massive need.

“We’re proud of where we’ve come from,” Poles said. “It’s going to be hard to make this team now.”

When Poles traded the No. 1 pick to the Panthers weeks before the 2023 draft and received a 2024 first-rounder as part of the return package, he said the prevailing thought was to be in position to draft a quarterback should 2021 first-rounder Justin Fields not prove he’s worthy of the QB1 role.

Leadership changes in personnel and top coaching spots often drive decisions to move on from quarterbacks drafted by previous regimes.

Fields, drafted 11th overall when then-GM Ryan Pace and the Bears moved up from No. 20 in a deal with the New York Giants, was traded to the Steelers last month to be the backup to Russell Wilson in Pittsburgh.

The new brass has tracked Williams incessantly.

Poles, head coach Matt Eberflus, offensive coordinator Shane Waldron and other members of the organization have spent countless hours to reach this point. The Bears met with Williams at the NFL Scouting Combine — where Eberflus offers prospects the option of playing darts or putt-putt before the more intensive interview begins — before his pro day workout (where new Bears wide receiver Keenan Allen made an appearance) and were the only team to host Williams at team headquarters for a “top 30” visit.

“The journey to collect all the information is different for everyone,” Poles said. “There’s guys on our board that are high that didn’t come in for a 30-visit that we’ve had other touchpoints. Our networks in the building know the player inside and out that we really, really trust.”

Poles called reports the Bears are shopping the No. 9 overall pick speculation and said he doesn’t feel the need to make a trade to add picks despite holding an NFL-low four selections over seven rounds.

“I feel really good with where we’re at,” Poles said.


As payback for an elbow to the Adam’s apple in a game that season, John Lynch nearly threw hands with Terrell Owens poolside in Hawaii before a Pro Bowl more than two decades ago.

Lynch was held back by his wife that day, but the current GM of the San Francisco 49ers might need to be restrained from jumping headlong into a draft class with depth in the gene pool.

Owens’ son is part of the cluster of former pro progeny eager to be selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.

The best-known sons of former NFL stars on the draft hopeful list this week are Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. and Notre Dame offensive tackle Joe Alt. They’re projected to be drafted early in the first round. Harrison is the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison, perhaps best known as the primary pass-catcher for Peyton Manning with the Indianapolis Colts. Alt was a high school tight end but moved to offensive tackle after training and film study with his dad, John, who happened to be an expert in the field of OT play from his days with the Kansas City Chiefs (1984-96).

Harrison Jr. said he is still fighting to overcome perceptions from peers and opponents that he’s being given something he doesn’t deserve because of his dad. On the flip side, he credits the 2016 Hall of Fame inductee and three-time All-Pro for setting “pure perfection” as the standard to achieve from a very young age.

“The work ethic definitely comes from him,” Harrison said. “To always push myself to be the best player that I can be.”

Lynch, a Hall of Fame safety drafted in 1993, has publicly endorsed the idea of coveting the Jr.’s this week.

Lynch maintains the value of a player’s lineage can be critical in a final draft grade and scouting report.

“I believe in bloodlines,” Lynch said. “I really do. I mean, I think there’s evidence that you should. Then you have to step away from that and you have to evaluate it. And that’s sometimes difficult to do and that’s why (you need) a lot of different eyes, a lot of different perspectives.

“There’s some inherent pressure on who their dad is, but there’s also some good genes and I think that matters. And so, it’s exciting that you have all these great — we’re talking Hall of Fame players and great players and brothers of players and it’s really fun. T.O. was out here at the local pro day and his son Terique performed really well and that was pretty cool. I saw him running at me and I played against T.O. a lot and there was something in that stride that was very familiar. It was something about the gait. And it’s crazy how those things translate. Is that just gene pool? Is that modeling the way they watch their dad run? It’s interesting to me but it’s a fun element to this year’s draft that I think is going to be interesting to watch to see how it unfolds.”

Michigan defensive lineman Kris Jenkins, the son of former Panthers and Jets defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, is another potential first-round pick. The elder Jenkins was a second-round pick in 2001 and a two-time All-Pro. Scouts circled his name after the Maryland product ran a 5.18 40-yard dash and bench-pressed 225 pounds 33 times at the Scouting Combine at 6-4, 320 pounds.

Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. is the son of former Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who played in the Super Bowl for Andy Reid in Philadelphia and also had a tour with Washington before returning to Philly. Trotter Sr. was more of a straight-ahead thumper, a run-stuffer from a bygone era, whereas his son was a two-time second-team All-American with the Tigers. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin met with Trotter Jr. at the combine and chatted with him again at Clemson’s on-campus pro day.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman didn’t identify Trotter Jr. by name but said he’ll be fighting emotions not to lean toward “guys with Philly ties, who know what it’s like to play here.”

“I’m biased towards our hometown players. I’m biased towards the people who have legacy with this franchise. So I think that’s hard,” Roseman said.

Beyond Lynch and Owens, there are plenty of 49ers connections in the draft.

Running back Christian McCaffrey’s brother, Luke, is the son of former Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey. A wide receiver from Rice, Luke McCaffrey is projected as a mid-round pick.

Brenden Rice entered the draft early following two seasons at Colorado and last season at Southern California, embracing that “pressure” to live up to his father Jerry Rice’s legacy as one of the NFL’s all-time greats. Rice caught 20 total touchdown passes in three years of college football and attended the Senior Bowl in January. He said he’s excited for any opportunity to prove he’s “the total package.”

Southern Miss running back Frank Gore Jr. was the Most Valuable Player at the Shrine Bowl. Gore Sr. is third all-time in the NFL with exactly 16,000 career rushing yards, ranking ahead of Barry Sanders and behind Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith.

“It’s a blessing,” Gore Jr. said of following in his dad’s footsteps. “I have the responsibility to take it further.”


The New England Patriots would move the third overall pick for the right price, though they haven’t received a suitable offer yet, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo report.

The Patriots and Washington Commanders, the latter of whom own the No. 2 selection, have received phone calls for their selections, Rapoport and Garafolo add. However, the Commanders haven’t indicated they’re interested in trading out. The Las Vegas Raiders are among teams that have called Washington, according to Garafolo.

Patriots director of scouting Eliot Wolf said earlier this month that his team is “open for business” in all rounds of the 2024 draft.

New England has multiple needs across its roster with the most obvious area being quarterback. Jacoby Brissett and Bailey Zappe headline its depth chart at the position following the trade of Mac Jones.

If the Patriots stay at No. 3, they’d be in a position to take a potential star at quarterback. USC star Caleb Williams is expected to go first overall, but there’s uncertainty about who goes second; signal-callers Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye are the two most speculated names.

The Patriots are entering their first draft under head coach Jerod Mayo.


The NFL reinstated Philadelphia Eagles cornerback and kick returner Isaiah Rodgers on Tuesday after a one-year gambling suspension.

Rodgers, 26, has been cleared to participate in all team activities, effective immediately.

The Indianapolis Colts cut Rodgers following his suspension last June and he signed with the Eagles in August.

A sixth-round pick in 2020, Rodgers averaged 27.0 yards on 61 kickoff returns in 45 games with the Colts from 2020-22. He returned a kick 101 yards for a touchdown at Cleveland in Week 5 of 2020.

Following his suspension for violating the league’s gambling policy, Rodgers issued a statement acknowledging his mistakes.

“Addressing the current reports, I want to take full responsibility for my actions. I know I have made mistakes, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to repair the situation,” he posted on social media.

“The last thing I ever wanted to do was to be a distraction to the Colts organization, my coaches and my teammates. I’ve let people down that I care about. I made an error in judgment and I am going to work hard to make sure that those mistakes are rectified through this process. It’s an honor to play in the NFL and I have never taken that lightly. I am very sorry for all of this.”


The NFL’s investigation into potential tampering by the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles is ongoing and will not be completed this week, the league said Tuesday.

With the 2024 NFL Draft scheduled to begin Thursday, the league will not be docking either team draft picks — should it find one or both guilty of tampering — this year.

The league confirmed in March that it was looking into the possibility of tampering by the teams prior to the start of free agency. The reviews focus on quarterback Kirk Cousins agreeing to a four-year, $180 million contract with the Falcons, and running back Saquon Barkley signing a three-year, $37.75 million deal with the Eagles.

The Falcons said in a statement at the time that “due to the NFL’s review, we are unable to provide information or have additional comment.”

The Eagles denied the claims.


The Houston Texans unveiled four variations of new uniforms, the team’s first redesign since the expansion franchise’s inception in 2000.

The Texans said 10,000 surveys and 30 focus groups were utilized to guide the new uniform design.

In addition to their traditional deep steel blue and white uniform, the Texans revealed a “Battle Red” helmet with a new logo that the team says is inspired by bullhorns with a bullhead logo on the back.

Houston also will feature a light blue helmet as part of its Color Rush look, complete with “H-Town” on the front of its uniforms.

The Texans also featured a light blue “H” that is outlined in red on a dark blue helmet.

“Today, for the first time since 2000, we are so proud to reveal our new uniforms. They are even more special because they are inspired by and for our fans,” Texans owner Cal McNair said in a statement. “Our fans asked us to be more H-Town and we delivered. They were with us every step of the way and there’s truly something for everyone over the four uniforms.”


The Cincinnati Bengals re-signed exclusive rights free agent quarterback Jake Browning to a two-year contract through the 2025 season, multiple media outlets reported on Tuesday.

Also, the Bengals signed unrestricted free agent quarterback Logan Woodside to a one-year deal for the 2024 season.

Undrafted out of Washington in 2019, Browning spent 2019-21 on the Minnesota Vikings’ practice squad. He then spent time on Cincinnati’s practice squad before filling in for the injured Joe Burrow last season.

Browning, 28, completed 171 of 243 passes (70.4 percent) for 1,936 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions in nine games (seven starts). He also rushed for 127 yards and three scores.

Woodside, 29, has completed 4 of 7 passes for 34 yards and an interception in 13 career games with the Tennessee Titans (2020-21) and Atlanta Falcons (2022-23). He was a seventh-round pick of the Bengals in the 2018 NFL Draft.