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Chicago Bears 2022 Roster Turnover: What to do behind the QB1?

In this 12-part series we’ll take an in depth look at each position group for the Chicago Bears with an eye towards the 2022 season. We’ll speculate on who stays, who goes, and some potential additions we’d like to see general manager Ryan Poles make.

NFL: AUG 03 Chicago Bears Training Camp Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Chicago Bears seemed primed to build their brand new offensive playbook around second year quarterback Justin Fields, which is exactly what they should be doing. New offensive coordinator Luke Getsy is going to tailor the scheme around Fields’ strengths, and if everything goes as planned the Bears will be a springboard for Getsy to land a head coaching gig himself. I know a lot fans are worried about offensive continuity if Getsy is hired away, but if that happens then things have gone exceptionally well and then one of the offensive assistants will get promoted to play caller while the basic scheme remains.

This is exactly what the we all should want. Chicago not only developing a young quarterback into a star but also developing the assistants on the coaching staff to bigger and better things.

In this 12-part series I’ll be listing the contract status of all the current Bears players on a position by position basis, while speculating on some offseason moves that could happen.

Justin Fields - Signed through 2024 (with a team option for 2025) - This is going to be a big year for Chicago’s second year signal caller, and with an offensive system designed around his athleticism and deep ball accuracy, I would expect him to settle into his role of franchise QB. Last season Fields thrived while on the move and when executing play action passes, but the old offense didn’t take advantage of that quite enough. We should see plenty of play action in a more Shannahanesque scheme, and with Fields on the move more than a year ago his rushing numbers could increase as well.

Nick Foles - Signed through 2022 - You have to assume the Bears would be open to moving Foles if a suitor came calling, but that’s probably going to depend on the health of the QB rooms from the other 31 teams. He’s still a capable NFL quarterback that can occasionally lead an offense if there’s some talent around him, but if the Bears are serious about the type of offense that will take advantage of Fields’ mobility, it makes sense to have a back up with a touch more athleticism. That’s not to say that Foles isn’t capable of running some RPOs and the occasional bootleg, but a QB room more in tune with each other makes more sense.

If the Bears cut Foles they’d be hit with about $7.6 million in dead money and get $3 million in savings, so that’s a possibility with them transitioning to a new offense.

Andy Dalton - Free agent - Technically there’s still two void years on Daltons’ deal, but he should be allowed to sign elsewhere once the 2022 league year opens up on March 16.

Ryan Willis - Signed to a reserve/futures contract - The Spring League MVP from the Mega Bowl was signed by the Bears late in the 2021 season, and he even spent the game against the Seahawks as Chicago’s QB2 behind Foles. He went undrafted after his 2019 season at Virginia Tech, and the Bears were his first NFL team.

2022 OUTLOOK - If Foles is moved, and that’s a big if, then I would imagine the Bears would look to free agency for another veteran to back up their young QB1. Finding someone with some experience in the terminology would make sense, so think a Sean Mannion or a Nick Mullens type. But come to think about it, Andy Dalton did play his 2019 in a similar system, so maybe...

Nah

With the pandemic still very much a thing, the Bears keeping a number three for the practice squad should be in the cards, but that’ll be a rookie UDFA or bottom of the depth chart veteran guy to compete with Willis. They may even wait for the final round of cuts to land a back up for their back up.