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Could the Bills be a trade partner for Bears' No. 9 pick? Here's why and why not

The Bills traded away their cornerstone wide receiver on Wednesday, sending a disgruntled Stefon Diggs, a sixth-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick to the Texans for a 2025 second-round pick.

Without Diggs, the Bills’ pass-catching room is depleted. Khalil Shakir is their primary receiver. He finished 611 yards and two touchdowns last season. Dalton Kincaid contributed similar numbers as a rising tight end for the Bills last season, too.

Both Shakir and Kincaid are up-and-coming players. But they won’t move the needle as primary options.

And with Josh Allen in the prime of his career — earning the fifth-most MVP votes last season — are the Bills hoping to replace Diggs, or start retooling their roster? That journey starts for them at the 2024 NFL Draft, where they’ll pick No. 28 in the first round.

Could Brandon Beane lean on Ryan Poles to help him get a new, top-tier receiver in the draft?

“Getting Rome Odunze at No. 9 would be really a steal for the Bears at that point,” Mel Kiper said on ESPN. “What would be really interesting to see is if Buffalo tries to move up. I remember, I brought it up the other day, the Atlanta Falcons moved up to get Julio Jones and what was given up. They made a monster leap.

“I know they’re handicapped a little bit by the draft choices that may prevent that. But you can always throw in next year’s pick, the following year. You can do things creatively that way. It’ll be interesting if Brandon Beane, who has some guys like Kahlil Shakir — a Josh Allen favorite, we know that — but not having Stefon Diggs in this draft you gotta believe maybe two, maybe three receivers come into the fold.

“Do they move up from where they are?”

Everyone and their mother knows the Bears will draft USC quarterback Caleb Williams as the No. 1 pick in the draft. But what will they do with the No. 9 pick in the draft?

They have several options. They could draft a player in a prime position i.e. wide receiver, edge rusher, tackle, etc. However, the Bears have done notable work in those areas i.e. trading for Keenan Allen, trading for Montez Sweat, and drafting Darnell Wright in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Plus, the Bears have just four picks in the 2024 NFL Draft. The Bills have 10 picks. And while Poles has done a solid job constructing the roster at this juncture, I think he’d even say the draft is the backbone of any NFL team. You can never have enough picks.

As Kiper said, it’s not uncanny for teams to trade up for wide receivers, even from 19 picks away. The Falcons moved up from the No. 27 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft to the No. 6 pick, giving the Browns the No. 27 pick, a second-round pick, a fourth-round pick and first- and fourth-round picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

That’s a haul.

Not to mention, this 2024 NFL Draft class is stacked with wide receivers. It’s highlighted by Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr., who’s thought to be the best player in the class, LSU’s Malik Nabers and Washington’s Rome Odunze. There’s a better-than-not chance Odunze will be available to the Bears with the No. 9 pick. And if one of Harrison Jr. or Nabers is available, the phones will be ringing off the hook for Chicago.

Would the Bills be inclined to jump that high to grab a wide receiver?

Remember, while the draft is top-heavy, it’s also loaded with wide receivers. LSU’s Brian Thomas Jr. is also projected to go in the first round, along with Texas’ Adonai Mitchell and Georgia’s Ladd McConkey. The Bills should be in range for any of those three pass-catchers.

What’s more, the Bills don’t have a lot of cap space. Diggs’ $31.6 million dead cap hit is leaving them with about $4.2 million in cap space, per Spotrac. The cap hit for the No. 9 pick is about $4.6 million. The Bills would have to do some light gymnastics to free up money for that pick, and the rest of their draft.

It’s important to note, too, that the Bills gutted their roster this offseason. Not only did they lose top receivers Diggs and Gabe Davis, but they also lost top-tier defenders Jordan Poyer, Tre’Davious White and Leonard Floyd.

Trading picks away to grab a blue-chip player at one position might be reckless. It’s probably smarter for them to draft with all 10 picks in the 2024 NFL Draft and reconstruct their roster with young talent for Allen.

Crazier things have happened. But rest assured, should the Bears want to trade down from the No. 9 picks, plenty of suitors will be calling them up.

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