Bears Rumors

Updated 2024 NFL Draft Order

With Week 13 underway, the picture at the top of the NFL draft board continues to become clearer. Plenty is yet to be determined with respect to the top of the order, however.

The Panthers’ ongoing struggles led to Frank Reich‘s firing, but the Bears own Carolina’s top pick this year due to the 2023 swap which landed Bryce Young via the No. 1 selection. Chicago being able to have the top pick once again – coupled with their own selection landing in the top-10 – would make the Bears a team to watch closely come April. The race for the top two or three slots (and, as such, the ability to draft QBs Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, along with wideout Marvin Harrison Jr.) will also be a key late-season storyline for the Cardinals and Patriots.

The Commanders have lost three straight games, overshadowing a promising season from first-year starter Sam Howell. After deciding to move on from defensive ends Chase Young and Montez Sweat at the trade deadline, the team’s defense has continued to struggle. DC Jack Del Rio is out as a result, and head coach Ron Rivera‘s position is not believed to be on strong footing. A top-five pick could make the job in Washington more attractive presuming a opening arises this offseason.

For non-playoff teams, the draft order will be determined by the inverted 2024 standings — plus a series of tiebreakers, starting with strength of schedule — with playoff squads being slotted by their postseason outcome and regular-season record. Here is an updated look at the current draft order:

  1. Chicago Bears (via Panthers)
  2. Arizona Cardinals: 2-10
  3. New England Patriots: 2-9
  4. Chicago Bears: 4-8
  5. Washington Commanders: 4-8
  6. New York Giants: 4-8
  7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-7
  8. New York Jets: 4-7
  9. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-7
  10. Tennessee Titans: 4-7
  11. Las Vegas Raiders: 5-7
  12. New Orleans Saints: 5-6
  13. Green Bay Packers: 5-6
  14. Los Angeles Rams: 5-6
  15. Cincinnati Bengals: 5-6
  16. Buffalo Bills: 6-6
  17. Arizona Cardinals (via Texans)
  18. Denver Broncos: 6-5
  19. Atlanta Falcons: 5-6
  20. Minnesota Vikings: 6-6
  21. Seattle Seahawks: 6-6
  22. Indianapolis Colts: 6-5
  23. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-4
  24. Houston Texans (via Browns)
  25. Miami Dolphins: 8-3
  26. Detroit Lions: 8-3
  27. Jacksonville Jaguars: 8-3
  28. Dallas Cowboys: 9-3
  29. Kansas City Chiefs: 8-3
  30. San Francisco 49ers: 8-3
  31. Baltimore Ravens: 9-3
  32. Philadelphia Eagles: 10-1

Jim Harbaugh Leaning Toward 2024 NFL Return; Latest On HC’s Potential Destinations

The 2024 coaching cycle will involve at least two openings for full-time positions (Raiders and Panthers), but more vacancies will likely emerge in the coming months. Jim Harbaugh remains a highly talked-about candidate, and indications continue to point to an NFL return in time for the 2024 season.

Harbaugh has been embroiled in controversy this season, but his second three-game suspension served during the campaign – stemming from Michigan’s sign-stealing scandal – is not believed to be sufficient to steer away NFL interest. As a result, he is set to be a notable coaching prospect this winter. Numerous people in league circles believe 2024 will be the year Harbaugh makes his return to the pro sidelines, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports.

The longtime Wolverines coach has routinely been a name to watch during hiring cycles, having interviewed with the Vikings in 2022 and the Broncos last year. His latest commitment to Michigan delayed his next round of interest until at least 2024. While Harbaugh has previously closed the door to future NFL interest, he is regarded as being “less than 50-50” to once again stay in Ann Arbor, per Sportkeeda‘s Tony Pauline.

Pauline’s report details the potential connection between Harbaugh and four teams which could be on his radar. The Chargers reside on that list, which comes as no surprise given the growing belief Brandon Staley is on the hot seat. Los Angeles is one of several potential suitors for Lions OC Ben Johnson, though, and Harbaugh’s conditions for an NFL deal could turn the Chargers elsewhere. The latter is expected to seek an annual salary of $15MM, Pauline reports, a figure more than triple that of Staley’s current compensation.

Especially with interim HC Chris Tabor unlikely to land the full-time Panthers gig, Carolina could be another Harbaugh destination. Pauline adds, however, that the 59-year-old is not enamored with quarterback Bryce Young, whose struggles as a rookie contributed to Frank Reich‘s dismissal. That, coupled with the Panthers’ lack of a 2024 first-round pick and owner David Tepper‘s reputation for meddling and impatience, would make it a surprise for Harbaugh to find himself in Charlotte next season.

Pauline also names the Raiders and Bears as teams to watch on the Harbaugh front. Both Vegas and Chicago have previously been linked to him based on his playing and coaching history, but a path appears to exist for interim Raiders coach Antonio Pierce to earn the full-time position moving forward. After facing several questions about his job security, meanwhile, it remains to be seen if Matt Eberflus will be retained for 2024 and beyond by the Bears.

While Harbaugh will no doubt have numerous suitors should he decide to take an NFL position for the first time since his 49ers tenure ended in 2014, it very much remains to be seen if he elects to entertain pro offers. His attention will be on Michigan’s push for a national title, but regardless of how that plays out, speculation will continue as the coaching cycle takes shape.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/27/23

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Waived from reserve/retired list: WR John Ross

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Ross signed a reserve/futures deal with the Chiefs in January but retired before training camp. The Combine 40-yard dash record holder now intends to resume his career, according to’s Mike Garafolo. Ross, who turned 28 today, has not played in a regular-season game since 2021 with the Giants.

A Raiders spring signee, Shelley did not make Las Vegas’ 53-man roster. The Rams picked him up before the season and have used him mostly on special teams. Shelley, who Bears and Vikings prior to this two-team 2023, has logged 76 defensive snaps this season. But the veteran cornerback has been on the field for 65% of Los Angeles’ special teams plays.

Jim Harbaugh On NFL Coaching Radar?

NOVEMBER 23: In an update on how Harbaugh is viewed in NFL circles, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports notes teams initially had doubts before further details emerged on the sign-stealing scheme. Now, however, the scandal is not likely to stop interested teams from proceeding with inquiries into Harbaugh (video link). With the path to an NFL return clear, it will be worth watching closely how many teams make a push to interview him and how committed he is to remaining at Michigan if firm offers do not emerge.

NOVEMBER 16: For the second time this season, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh finds himself in the midst of a three-game suspension. His latest disciplinary troubles have led many to believe he would not be under consideration for another NFL gig, but that does not appear to be the case.

The Athletic’s Mike Jones reports Harbaugh could be interested in a return to the pro game, adding that such interest is expected to lead to interview consideration this coming offseason (subscription required). Jones names the Bears and Raiders as teams which could be worth watching on that front, noting the connection Harbaugh has to each franchise.

The 59-year-old – who was suspended by Michigan at the beginning of the season due to alleged recruiting violations and was recently sidelined for the remainder of the regular season by the Big Ten due to the school’s sign-stealing scandal – was a first-round pick of the Bears in 1987. He spent seven of his 14 years in the Windy City as a player, and has a relationship with new Bears president Kevin Warren. Prior to his current posting, the latter served as commissioner of the Big Ten. Chicago has Matt Eberflus at the helm right now, and though he has received support from the organization recently, his job security has been called into question in Year 2.

Harbaugh worked as the Raiders’ QB coach from 2002-03 in what was his first coaching position in the NFL. He has since maintained a relationship with owner Mark Davis, who will be on the lookout for a Josh McDaniels replacement this offseason (unless interim HC Antonio Pierce does enough in the coming weeks to earn the job on a full-time basis). A recent report named the Raiders as a logical landing spot for Harbaugh in the event Davis followed through on his interest in interviewing him, with the caveat that any longstanding punishment handed down by the Big Ten or NCAA may still apply in the NFL.

The most recent NFL looks Harbaugh has received have come in 2022 (from the Vikings) and this past offseason (when he was the first candidate to interview with the Broncos). Not long after the latter meeting, he made the commitment to remain at Michigan and publicly expressed an aversion to future NFL interest. Having taken the 49ers to the Super Bowl during his long head coaching stint at the pro level, though, speculation has frequently tied him to leaving the Wolverines in pursuit of unfinished business.

Harbaugh (who signed a five-year deal with Michigan last winter) would no doubt command a large share of personnel decisions in the event he were to take on an NFL gig. As the 2024 coaching carousel takes shape in the coming months, it will be interesting to see how often his name comes up with respect to interview requests and the degree to which he reciprocates.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/21/23

Tuesday’s taxi squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

  • Released: DB Cameron McCutcheon

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/20/23

Today’s minor moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

  • Signed off Bears practice squad: DE Jalen Harris
  • Placed on IR: DL Efe Obada
  • Waived from IR: CB Troy Apke

The Packers will soon be getting some reinforcement on defense, as the team designated safety Darnell Savage Jr. for return from injured reserve today. The defensive back has missed the last four games while recovering from a calf injury. The former first-round pick started all six of his appearances to begin the season, collecting 34 tackles. The fifth-year starter will provide the Packers with a welcome boost when he inevitably returns to the field.

It seems like Green Bay is already preparing for Savage’s return, as the team moved on from another defensive back. Dallin Leavitt spent the past year-plus with the Packers, with the veteran joining the organization following a four-year stint with the Raiders to begin his career. Leavitt got into all 17 games for the Packers in 2022, with all of his snaps coming on special teams. The veteran has seen a handful of defensive snaps in 2023, collecting two tackles in 10 games.

Bears Will Have To Be “Blown Away” By Top QB Prospect To Move On From Justin Fields; Latest On GM Ryan Poles, HC Matt Eberflus

Recent reports have suggested that the Bears, who seem like a sure bet to have two top-10 picks in the 2024 draft, will select a quarterback in the first round. However, Ian Rapoport of writes that Chicago will have to be “blown away” by a quarterback prospect to pull the trigger and move on from incumbent Justin Fields.

That is the same mindset that general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus had when embarking on their first offseason with the Bears in 2022. The duo inherited Fields from Chicago’s prior regime, but at the time, the Ohio State product had just finished his rookie campaign, and it made sense to give him some time to live up to his own lofty draft status (Fields was the No. 11 overall pick of the 2021 draft).

Since then, Fields has firmly cemented himself as a tremendous weapon when carrying the ball while proving to be more of a mixed bag as a passer. He has missed the Bears’ last four contests due to a dislocated thumb, and he will have the final seven games of the season to convince the organization to use its draft assets on non-quarterback talent. Eberflus believes that represents enough of an audition opportunity to determine Fields’ future with the franchise.

“I think seven weeks is enough time to show consistency and for him to be the high performer that we expect him to be,” Eberflus said (h/t Courtney Cronin of “I know he’s had some good performances this year, certainly the last few have been solid.”

Of course, even if Fields performs well down the stretch, he may not stick in Chicago. By virtue of their 2023 trade with the Panthers, who presently have a 1-8 record, the Bears could find themselves in position to draft a collegiate QB like USC’s Caleb Williams or UNC’s Drake Maye without even having to trade up the board. Those players are widely believed to be generational talents, and assuming that the club agrees with the prevailing industry assessment — in other words, if Poles and Eberflus are “blown away” by at least one of Williams and Maye — Fields’ upcoming audition could really be a showcase for other teams.

A September report, which surfaced when the Bears were mired in a 13-game losing streak, suggested that both Eberflus and Poles were on the hot seat, and if ownership moves on from them at the end of the year, it obviously does not matter what they think of Fields or the top quarterbacks in the 2024 class. Fortunately for the power brokers, the Bears have gone 3-3 over their last six games, and Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune makes it sounds as if Poles will return in 2024 and will be using the remainder of the season not only to evaluate Fields, but to evaluate Eberflus. Indeed, Biggs says Poles will need to determine if he wants a more offensive-minded coach — which could be especially relevant if he drafts Williams or Maye — and will want to see if the team remains competitive under Eberflus’ watch.

New team president Kevin Warren will obviously have considerable input as to the futures of both Eberflus and Poles.

Justin Fields To Play In Week 11; Bears To Activate RB Khalil Herbert From IR

NOVEMBER 18: The Bears made it official today, activating Herbert for the team’s Week 11 matchup in Detroit. It remains to be seen what Herbert’s role will be after he seemed to be firmly establishing himself as the lead back in the two games before his absence. Foreman has had a few decent performances since then while rookie Roschon Johnson has remained a change of pace back and Travis Homer has remained a special teamer.

The activation is the team’s eighth off of injured reserve this year, which is the limit for a season. If any other players are placed on IR, they will be forced to remain there for the rest of the year.

In addition to Herbert’s activation, the Bears announced their standard gameday practice squad elevations for tomorrow. They have selected linebacker Micah Baskerville and outside linebacker DeMarquis Gates to dress up against the Lions.

NOVEMBER 17: The Bears’ offense will see two significant reinforcements in time for Week 11. As expected, quarterback Justin Fields will suit up on Sunday as he was taken off the injury report. Running back Khalil Herbert, meanwhile, will be activated off IR, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes.

Fields has missed the past four games due to a thumb injury, but it was learned earlier this week that Chicago intended to bring the former first-rounder back into the fold. With that now confirmed, Fields can embark on a late-season stretch in which plenty of his post-2023 future will be determined. Recent indications have suggested Fields will need to convince the Bears’ brass – which was not in place when he was drafted – of his worth to avoid having the team draft a new signal-caller in April.

2023 has seen the 24-year-old continue to put up inconsistent numbers, and the thumb injury has added to his missed time. Fields is under contract through at least 2024, though the Bears could add one year to his rookie pact by exercising his fifth-year option this spring. Doing so would represent a sign of confidence in his progression, but the team is slated to have two high first-rounders in April’s draft. That would provide an opportunity to acquire a Fields successor and move on from the Ohio State alum. His play down the stretch will thus be worth watching closely.

Herbert was one of three players the Bears designated for return last week. The others – wideout Equanimeous St. Brown and cornerback Josh Blackwell were activated, but Herbert was not. The latter will notably represent the eighth and final IR activation used by Chicago this season. While their aggressiveness with using injured reserve as a means of stashing injured players has carried risk, Herbert’s return will be welcomed on the Bears’ offense.

The unit has struggled in a number of categories, although running production has not been one of them. The Bears rank fifth in the NFL with an average of 135 yards per game on the ground, and Herbert sits second on the team with 272 on the year. Free agent addition D’Onta Foreman has taken the lead in that department while logging a heavy workload in Herbert’s absence. It will be interesting to see how the RB snaps are divided with the team’s backfield returning to health.

The 3-7 Bears will aim to ride the return of Fields and Herbert to an uptick in offensive efficiency late in the year. With plenty at stake for the former (along with several members of the coaching staff and/or front office, in the view of many), Chicago will be a team to monitor in the closing weeks of the campaign.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/17/23

Friday’s only practice squad transactions:

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Kramer returns to Chicago after spending a little over a week in Arizona. The Cardinals had claimed Kramer after he was waived in order to make room for left tackle Braxton Jones on the Bears’ active roster. Arizona waived Kramer on Wednesday, and after clearing waivers, Kramer has found his way back to Chicago.

Farniok should find his way onto someone’s roster. The third-year interior lineman started two games for the Cowboys last year and appeared in 19 games over his first two seasons.

Latest On Bears’ Quarterback Plans

Giving up the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, the Bears broke with decades of NFL norms by making that move before free agency. Passing on the chance to draft Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud, Chicago has an interesting long-game route at the position — thanks to the team that acquired the No. 1 pick.

Carolina’s struggles in Young’s rookie year has Chicago positioned atop the 2024 draft order. While we still have two months to go, the Bears are a virtual lock to exit this season with two top-10 picks. Justin Fields still has some time to win this Bears regime — one that did not draft him — over, but early signs may be pointing to the team replacing him in the draft if the cards fall right.

Ahead of Fields’ return from a thumb dislocation, The Athletic’s Adam Jahns notes the third-year QB probably must change some minds within the Bears’ facility (subscription required). Despite GM Ryan Poles selling this year’s top draft pick and basing this season around a Fields evaluation, he and HC Matt Eberflus were not in Chicago when the team traded up for the Ohio State prospect.

Fields has offered a mixed bag thus far as a pro, showing flashes as a passer but deficiencies as well. One of the best running QBs in NFL history, Fields will need to show more as a passer during this seven-game — barring another injury — audition. He should have a better audition opportunity beginning in Week 11. After the Bears placed Braxton Jones and Teven Jenkins on IR in September, both are now back. Chicago’s starting O-line will protect Fields on Sunday. D.J. Moore also obviously represents a much better WR1 compared to Chicago’s 2022 setup.

The Panthers’ eventual draft slot (or the Bears’) could end up mattering more than Fields’ stretch-run performance. After needing to trade up for Fields at No. 11 two years ago, the Bears could become the rare team with two top-five picks. As it stands now, Chicago holds Nos. 1 and 5 in 2024. With this in mind, the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs expressed confidence the Bears will address the QB position in the first round.

Fields carries the NFL’s second-worst sack rate (12.9%) and the league’s fifth-worst INT rate (3.7%) this season; his 61.7% completion rate ranks 27th. Of course, he steamrolled toward Lamar Jackson‘s QB single-season rushing record — despite missing two games — last season. The Bears being asked to punt on Caleb Williams or Drake Maye might be a tough sell, considering Poles had a chance to make a QB draft investment this year and passed. They should be considered more likely to be impressed with one of next year’s top arms compared to this year’s crop, per Jahns.

The Bears have been down this road before, of course, with Pace trading up for Mitch Trubisky in 2017. (Maye also being a North Carolina product would introduce an interesting subplot here.) An early ESPN consensus slots Williams as next year’s top overall prospect and Maye sixth. Then again, the quarterback position’s importance stands to drive next year’s second-best passing prospect up the board.

Barring a considerable Fields turnaround, the Bears having the inside track to one of next year’s top two QBs may well be the direction this process takes. After brief Fields trade rumblings surfaced this year, they would obviously intensify if Chicago indeed commits to a rookie QB in the spring.