You might still have questions about whether or not Justin Fields is “the guy” going forward for the Chicago Bears. Or you may not (in either direction).
But one thing is for certain: Fields gets it.
He understands the business of the game and must know the Bears in all likelihood will use a top-2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft on a quarterback — possibly regardless of anything he does over the next five games of the season — if the Carolina Panthers gift one to Chicago.
And he knows the only way to change minds (or make someone else swing for him in the trade market in the off-season) is to keep his head on straight.
So that’s what he’s going to do.
When asked yesterday at his presser how much he hears the outside noise about his future and whether he feels his situation has been fair in Chicago, Fields gave a very honest, and probably telling, assessment.
“I mean, life isn’t fair,” Fields said. “So me personally, I’m just focused on what I can control, and the rest is in God’s hands.
“Wherever, if I’m here next year, if I’m not, football doesn’t define who I am as a person. . . . I know that God’s got me, and I’m going to be good. I’m very blessed in the position I am in, and I think a million people would love to be in the position I am right now. So really just, I’m not taking that for granted and just taking each and every moment I have every day up here to the fullest.”
Fields made similar comments after the Bears’ blowout loss against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, the nadir of the team’s early-season struggles. Since that point, the third-year quarterback has played markedly better football, though the team is still 2-3 in his starts.
With five games left in the 2023 season, it almost feels like win-or-get-traded for Fields, and even that might not be enough to stop the Bears from reloading with Caleb Williams or Drake Maye on a rookie quarterback deal to pair with an improving young roster.
That’s just the cruel reality of the situation, and Fields seems to know that well, even if he doesn’t say so directly.
Still, there’s something to the intangible aspect of where Fields is that remains admirably and suggests he can be successful in the NFL.
“He’s dangerous. He’s one of these rare, dangerous players.”— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) December 7, 2023
Dan Campbell said every team that faces the Bears *wants* to do the same thing: stop Justin Fields. It’s proving to be a tough task for any defense. pic.twitter.com/VLic7WSSr6
Of the eight quarterbacks taken in the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, Fields and Trevor Lawrence (No. 1 overall) are the only two unquestioned starters left with Mac Jones likely benched for good in New England, Trey Lance traded from San Francisco and now a backup to Dak Prescott in Dallas and Zach Wilson reportedly so shook he’s not sure about getting his starting job back in New York.
Fields by far had the worst combination of coaching, roster and overall situation of any of them, having to stave off being traded for the No. 1 pick in the draft last year as well. Without a doubt, none of those other players minus Lawrence could’ve survived. Yet Fields continued to flash his talent and has done so more consistently over his past five games.
If he could somehow do it for another five and the Bears ended up, say, 4-1 to close the year, he’ll at least make Chicago sweat a little before potentially moving on. A win against the Detroit Lions on Sunday would be a good step toward that. And though there are certainly some very slay-able bums in that stretch, the top-ranked Cleveland Browns defense provides one more true measuring stick for what Fields can do to truly elevate the Bears.
But whether Fields stays a Bear or not after this season, he’s shown the league he has the right mentality to play for a long time.