Well, we’ve reached week 18—the final game of what we all called a critical season for the Chicago Bears. We didn’t know what to expect from Matt Eberflus, we had hopes that Luke Getsy would develop a fantastic offense to take this team to the next level, and all our hopes for Justin Fields were as high as the Sears Tower (no, it’s not Willis).
Sixteen games later, questions remain about all of them.
Matt Eberflus certainly seems to have the support of the locker room. His defense is getting better almost every week, but his in-game decisions continue to baffle the mind. The Falcons game was smooth sailing, but the decision to kick at the end of the half was misguided and almost completely flipped the game on its head.
Luke Getsy certainly has a particular offense he wants to run. It doesn’t seem to be one that fits the skills of Justin Fields. The fans have lost their patience with Getsy. How much is his fault? At this point, does it even matter? The Bears’ community is so down on Getsy it would be really hard to convince them that bringing him back is in the best interest of the team.
And of course, there’s Justin Fields. A debate that has reached a fever-pitch since he returned from injury and is only going to get louder now that Ryan Poles has pulled off the impossible and landed the number one pick in the draft for the second consecutive season.
There’s no denying the fan base’s love for Justin Fields. But guess what? That love will not matter very much in Ryan Poles’ final evaluation. But it’s not just the fans who love Justin Fields, it’s the locker room. He’s their guy. They believe in him. They want him to be their quarterback. That will weigh far more heavily on Poles’ mind than that of the fan base.
His athleticism is electric. He can turn a 6-yard loss into a 25-yard gain at any moment during any game. His arm talent is fabulous. He can hit a player in stride 50 yards down the field. He can place an intermediate to deep ball with pinpoint accuracy. His highlight reels rival any other quarterback in the league.
But Ryan Poles must look at the entire picture. He can throw out 2022 in the evaluation, but can he throw out the first three games? Can he throw out either of the Vikings games? Sure, one of them had a game winning throw to DJ Moore, but that game also featured 2 crushing fumbles.
The eye test 100% tells you that Justin Fields has improved. He’s turning the ball over less, he’s taking less sacks (although still at too high of a rate). He looks far more in command of the offense.
But Justin Fields continues to leave throws he should make in his pocket. He still isn’t throwing with enough anticipation. And he isn’t getting the ball to his secondary reads downfield either. Can you have success with these faults? Yes, you can. Can you have enough success with these faults? That’s up to Ryan Poles to decide.
And finally there’s the other pending issue to this Justin Fields debate. Money. Fields will need to be paid sooner rather than later. His price won’t be cheap. He won’t need to surpass the likes of Justin Herbert or Joe Burrow, but he’s certainly going to pass a contract like Daniel Jones. Would the Chicago Bears be comfortable giving Justin Fields a 4/$180 contract with $120 guaranteed?
That’s what it’s going to take. That will make things tighter in 2025 and much tighter in 2026. If the Bears choose to move on from Fields and draft a quarterback with the first pick, money won’t start getting tight until 2028 and 2029. Those years are significant when Poles is piecing together a solid roster and deciding where the Bears’ funds should be allocated.
With one game remaining against the Green Bay Packers, it’s so Bears that most important question that hung over this team this season still isn’t a solid answer. Is Fields the guy to lead this team? Some fans and analysts are certain he is, others still question if he can be that guy.
But none of those opinions matter. The only opinion that matters is that of Ryan Poles.
Quick Hits (Ten best assets addition)
- 10. Gervon Dexter
- 9. Tyrique Stevenson
- 8. Kyler Gordon
- 7. Teven Jenkins
- 6. Justin Fields
- 5. Darnell Wright
- 4. DJ Moore
- 3. Jaylon Johnson
- 2. Montez Sweat
- 1. The 2024 number one pick