Pro Football Hall of Famer Ron Wolf knows a thing or two about pulling off stunning trades. When he was the Green Bay Packers’ general manager back in 1992, Wolf sent a first-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for a little known backup quarterback named Brett Favre.
This set into motion a decade-plus of Super Bowl contention for the then downtrodden Packers franchise. It was also met with swift criticism from pundits who believed Green Bay threw away a first-round pick in making said deal with the Atlanta Falcons.
Fast forward a quarter century, and the division-rival Chicago Bears are facing even more criticism in the digital media age after they exhausted three high-value picks to move up one spot in the 2017 NFL Draft for North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
How bad is it? Some within the NFL believe that Bears general manager Ryan Pace signed his own walking papers by making the trade with San Francisco (more on that here).
At the very least, Wolf himself appears to side with the Bears following the stunning trade that brought the team their new “franchise” quarterback.
“I admire anyone with the gumption to (go for their guy)” Wolf said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “If you have the conviction, which they obviously do, that this is their savior . . . you go and get him. It takes intestinal fortitude and he displayed that. He has a belief in the player. And not only Pace, but the other people must be in line with that, too. If that’s your guy, you go do it.”
There’s been a rapidly increasing debate about whether teams should mortgage the future for a potential franchise quarterback. Both the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans also sent major bounties to move up for young signal callers during the draft.
Chicago’s decision was placed under a microscope for a couple different reasons. First, off the team moved up just one spot, yielding two third-round picks and a fourth-round pick in the process. Secondly, Trubisky was not viewed as one of the top-five prospects in the draft.
With that said, teams don’t turn it around without making bold moves. That’s not how it works in today’s NFL. If the Bears’ brass felt like Trubisky was the guy, it made perfect sense to guarantee them his services.
“You’ve got to give credit where credit is due. They thought enough of (Trubisky) and got him,” Wolf continued. “Lord knows they needed a quarterback, so they got one.”
That’s the point proponents of the deal from Chicago’s perspective have made since the deal last Thursday. Wolf knows full well what goes into making such a bold move. Whether it pays off for the Bears like it did for his Packers remains to be seen.