When do the Chicago Bears want a QB plan in place? ‘Tomorrow,’ GM Ryan Poles joked at the NFL combine.

INDIANAPOLIS — Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles didn’t present a grand quarterback plan as the NFL scouting combine kicked off Tuesday at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Bears are still in information-gathering mode, in the thick of a weeklong schedule packed with prospect interviews and other teams’ trade offers — likely for both the No. 1 draft pick and quarterback Justin Fields.

But Poles, who is the talk of the combine with the draft’s top pick for the second straight year, understands the NFL world’s anticipation of his decision. When asked during his annual combine news conference when he would like to have a quarterback plan in place, Poles joked, “Tomorrow.”

“No, I would love to know as soon as possible,” he said. “I would love to know, but I know that’s not how the process works. Sure, before free agency would be good. If we were to do something with Justin, I want to do right by him and I know living in that gray space, we would want to do something sooner rather than later.

“But just like I talk about with contracts, it takes two teams to figure that out. But at the same time, we’re also trying to figure out the draft process as well. There’s a lot of different things with different timelines going, and that’s what makes it a little difficult.”

Poles spoke a couple of times about wanting to “do right by Justin” should the Bears decide they’re going to draft a quarterback. Fields said last week on “The St. Brown Brothers” podcast he wants the uncertainty to be over: “Just let me know if I’m getting traded, let me know if I’m staying.”

Poles said he has been in contact with Fields’ representatives as the Bears plot their course.

“We let them know what we are looking at, how things might play out,” Poles said. “And we will continue to communicate as we move forward. Again, I understand how uncomfortable that is for him, but like I told him and he understands, it’s part of this business. It is a unique situation.”

Poles has heard the votes of support from Fields’ teammates over the last couple of months and understands such a trade might not be immediately popular. But Poles has to look beyond that initial reaction as he determines which route to go at quarterback.

“He’s a leader,” Poles said. “Everything our guys have said is true, and I’m not surprised our guys have said what they said. I feel the same way. I think sometimes this whole thing (becomes) Justin versus another person, and I have to look at it a little bit differently.

“That’s why the person is so important when we evaluate all the people that would come in at that position. But also it’s my job to think of the long term, and a lot of our guys kind of don’t see that. It’s not their job to do that and they defend their guy, which I think speaks volumes about our culture in that locker room.

Of course, Poles could go in the opposite direction and trade the No. 1 pick for the second straight year after he dealt the top pick in 2023 to the Carolina Panthers in March after trade talks at the combine.

As of Tuesday morning, he said he hadn’t had any “big-time conversations” about potential trades. Teams were “poking around” at the Senior Bowl, trying to get a feel for what the Bears would want in a deal.

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Poles said it was hard to say what might prompt him to trade the No. 1 pick.

“It’s got to help our organization significantly to move around because we saw what it did last year,” Poles said of a trade that netted the top pick this year, wide receiver DJ Moore, right tackle Darnell Wright, cornerback Tyrique Stevenson and a 2025 second-round pick. “And I’m looking for that type of return to continue to improve our football team.”

Meanwhile, the Bears also have this week’s main event to address.

The combine is just one step in a lengthy process of getting to know the Bears’ other quarterback possibilities, including USC’s Caleb Williams, North Carolina’s Drake Maye and LSU’s Jayden Daniels.

Poles has spoken multiple times this offseason about understanding who those prospects are as people as the Bears determine whether they would be a fit within their locker room and in a tough Chicago market.

Among the many topics they’ll address, Poles and his staff might try to get a feel for how Williams feels about Chicago. That was a topic earlier this offseason when Fox Sports 1 host Colin Cowherd said Williams didn’t want to go to the Bears — and then walked back that assertion a day later, saying Williams’ camp told him they didn’t want to be painted as “anti-Bear.”

Poles said Tuesday that doesn’t concern him.

“No concerns about that at all,” he said. “I would love to know why, if that was the case. As a young quarterback, and I’ve been around it, the infrastructure is important, and I think we’ve made really good progress in terms of having really good infrastructure for whoever were to come in or if Justin were to stay here as well.”