Is Caleb Williams all in with the Bears?

Chicago's move to trade Justin Fields for, basically, whatever they could get for him suggests they'll be taking a quarterback with the first overall pick in 2024. But which quarterback will they take?

Presumably, it will be Caleb Williams. Presumably, Williams has decided not to resist playing for the Bears. Presumably, he's willing to submit to the "honor and privilege" that comes from being told where his NFL career will begin. Even if it's possibly not an ideal destination for him.

Three times in the past 41 years, a first overall pick has made a power play. In 1983, John Elway managed to get the Colts to draft him and trade him. In 1986, Bo Jackson told the Buccaneers that, if they draft him with the No. 1 overall pick, he'll play baseball. (They did, and he did.) In 2004, Eli Manning (with an assist from Archie) got the Chargers to select him and then trade him to the Giants.

More top prospects should use their power. Especially as all of them arrive in the NFL with NIL money in the bank. Why not provide the NFL with a list of teams a given player will play for, with a threat/promise to sit out the season? (There's also an argument to be made that a player who accepts no financial benefits from the NFL or hires an agent could go back to college football, if he still has remaining eligibility.)

For quarterbacks, the first NFL destination can be critical to the player's long-term success. Dysfunctional teams do dysfunctional things. And they tend to stay dysfunctional. That stink can attach itself to the player and infect his prospects and perception.

If Williams has considered all teams and decided that the Bears are his best destination, great. If he has considered all teams and decided he'd rather play somewhere else, why shouldn't he try to do it?

Yes, the media (but not us) would criticize him for doing it. Fans would get big mad. Regardless, players have far more power than they realize. And they're the ones who have to live with the aftermath of landing in a bad spot.

Trey Lance has become an afterthought, after being picked third overall by the 49ers in 2021. He got drafted into a spot where circumstances combined with football decisions to never give him a chance to play.

Zach Wilson has become an afterthought, too, after being the consensus second overall selection in 2021. He was drafted by the Jets, who have been putting the "diss" in dysfunction for 50 years and counting. The Jets has since admitted that, with a first-year head coach who wasn't an offensive specialist, they shouldn't have thrown Wilson into the fray right away. Without the benefit of an alternate universe, there's no way of knowing whether Wilson would have thrived if, for example, the Jets had taken Micah Parsons at No. 2 and the 49ers had picked Wilson.

Caleb Williams owes it to himself and his career to look at the draft order and do a deep dive into the dysfunctionality, or otherwise, of the teams that (for the most part) earned those picks. The teams currently holding the first four selections all have defensive head coaches. Thus, if any of them (Bears, Commanders, Patriots, Cardinals) would take Williams and if Williams would thrive there, the offensive coordinator inevitably would become a "hot" head coaching candidate — and Caleb Williams would have to start over with another offensive coordinator.

Williams has reasons to eyeball the Giants at No. 6. He could thrive in that market, setting him up for many more millions in off-field earnings. And his coach would be an offensive expert who has shown he can get the most out of Josh Allen, when Brian Daboll was the offensive coordinator in Buffalo.

Although the Bears undoubtedly won't trade the first overall pick to Minnesota, consider what Caleb Williams could become if joined at the hip with Kevin O'Connell, who was in the process of transmogrifying Kirk Cousins into a stone-cold killer — and who would later coax a 400-yard passing game out of Nick Freakin' Mullens.

The point here is that the top players have far more power than they realize. Using it isn't just a luxury. It's a potential necessity. For some players, that first team becomes the key factor in determining whether he succeeds or fails at the NFL level.

Maybe Williams is good enough to overcome the potential impact of a less-than-ideal circumstance. Or maybe he should take to heart the things Colorado coach Deion Sanders recently told Chris Russo of SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio.

“The kid can flat out play and he will probably be the first pick," Sanders said. "But you got a situation in Chicago that I don't like. I don't think you just discard their quarterback.[Justin Fields] has had what — how many coordinators now? How many head coaches?"

Really, how stable are things in Chicago? How much continuity will there be for Williams? Those are all fair questions to ask by a player who has the power to do more than ask questions, if he wants.

More players at the top of the draft should be willing to push back. It happened only three times in the pre-NIL era. As more players have more money in the bank, it feels inevitable that some player will reject the league's Harry Potter-style sorting hat and make it known to the NFL the small handful of places where he'll play.