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Will Bears players really ‘mutiny’ if Justin Fields is traded? Not likely.

Chicago Bears players love Justin Fields and clearly want him to be the quarterback. But business is business in the NFL, and they’ll deal with it if the Bears take a new quarterback.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

“We want Fields!”

We all heard the chants from the fans. We also heard the Chicago Bears players in the locker room after their victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field on Sunday.

Everyone in a Bears jersey on Sunday — whether they were on the field or in the stands — loved what Justin Fields authored in what could be his last home game: a 300-total-yard effort with two touchdowns, some excellent throws from the pocket and yet another escape act seemingly only he can pull off.

It’s the kind of performance (against a good defense, mind you) and a scene that has people wondering if Fields has saved his job even in spite of the Bears locking in the No. 1 overall pick with Carolina’s blowout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And if the Bears opted to trade him anyway for the right to draft Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, some posit the fallout in the locker room could be severe — even mutinous.

In fact, “there would be a mutiny there” is exactly what former Bear Kyle Long said on the Green Light podcast with his brother Chris when describing how current players would react to such a move after putting their support so publicly behind Fields.

“The team has decided that’s our guy,” Chris said. “...Six weeks ago, it was the safe decision, you could feel it, to trade Justin Fields. Now tell me what decision feels more unsafe if you’re Ryan Poles.”

While it might be a bit strong to say players would revolt against the front office in the event of a Fields trade, reports from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Courtney Cronin certainly suggest Bears brass would have some work to do to get players on board if they moved on from the popular third-year quarterback.

“It’s like, if you get rid of him, what are we doing?” one Bears veteran reportedly told ESPN. “It’s like last year when they got rid of [linebacker] Roquan [Smith] and Rob [pass-rusher Robert Quinn]. That was our captain. We knew we were going down.”

“If we do that next year, it’s like where are we going?” said another Bear of drafting a QB at No. 1. “So we’ve got to go through this for another year until he [a rookie quarterback] is able to compete for a Super Bowl?”

Bears players can see what we’ve all seen: Fields has battled through a guy renovation and subpar offensive talent to become, all things considered, a solid starting quarterback in the league despite his flaws. As one coach put it to ESPN, “This is a high-ceiling player — there’s much more he can tap into.”

Moreover, the locker room’s sense of building toward something special behind Fields and head coach Matt Eberflus, who probably now stands more than a good chance of returning after a tumultuous season, is palpable. Trading Fields and resetting the clock with a rookie quarterback would seemingly upset that balance tremendously.

But never forget this about the NFL: it’s a business.

Players, coaches and executives all come and go. If you’re not performing well enough, you get replaced. If you’re too expensive, a team will try to find someone less expensive. That’s the way it is.

Every player in the Bears locker room has seen someone they liked get cut, traded or sign with another team before. It will happen again – perhaps even to them – whether Fields stays or goes this offseason.

As much as star receiver DJ Moore has publicly championed Fields and advocated for him to stay, you’ve also heard him mention an important caveat: it’s not his decision to make.

“He’s ‘Him.’ I want him to be the quarterback,” Moore said after Sunday’s game. “I said what I said; now it’s on the higher-ups. It’s up to them.”

Similarly, former Bears quarterback Chase Daniel, who routinely breaks down Fields’ film and capped his exuberant praise of Fields’ performance against the Falcons by saying the young quarterback had done “more than enough” to keep his job in Chicago, provided some important context about the locker room’s clear preference for Fields.

“You get over it,” Daniel said of players’ potential dissatisfaction over a Fields trade. “They’ll disappointed for the offseason, but then they’ll see Caleb Williams, Drake Maye. ... As soon as they see a new guy come in, Justin might be their boy, [but] it’s the game of football.

“I’m sure whatever decision they make — if Poles goes that direction, he’ll call in the leaders of the team and be like, “Look, this is just too good of an opportunity to pass up to draft a quarterback. We love Justin, yada, yada...but it’ll be fine.”

Daniel’s thoughts bring this back to the whole point of the exercise: winning a Super Bowl. Not making the playoffs in 2024. Winning a Lombardi Trophy at some point in the near future.

Who gives you a better chance to do that? Fields or a talented rookie quarterback like Caleb Williams or Drake Maye?

Fields has two years of cost control left before potentially making top quarterback money, if he ever commands that, while a rookie quarterback would be relatively cheaper for at least the next three seasons. Of course, the Bears could offset that difference to a degree with the cheap draft picks they can acquire in a trade-down scenario, relying on the draft rather than the free agents they could more easily sign if they had a quarterback on a cheap rookie deal.

But as sexy as the idea of the rookie contract cheat code sounds, the only question that matters is who gives you a better shot at a championship.

We know what Fields is at this point: a special football player but an inconsistent quarterback. We also know how unfair the process in Chicago has been to Fields, making it all the more impressive he’s shown the relative progress he’s made as this season has gone on. While many advanced metrics and passing efficiency numbers place Fields in the 20-25 tier of quarterbacks, his overall production in terms of total yards per game (253.7) and touchdowns per game (1.67) puts him at 15th in the league among quarterbacks with at least 10 starts. Not bad considering.

We don’t yet know what Williams or Maye will be in the NFL, but their projections as passers suggest they could very well end up top-10 quarterbacks in the league with the right support system. It doesn’t matter if they’re better than Fields in Year 1. They just have to clear him every year after that and elevate the passing game past what it is now. Most analysts believe they will.

Another factor that matters: doing this during the offseason and giving the team a chance to process the move, as opposed to trading Fields away midseason the way they did with Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith, will help smooth things over.

Poles will have plenty of time to speak to the team’s core players, Moore included, to explain why drafting Williams or Maye gets them closer to a Super Bowl, which is what the team strives for every season. By the time OTAs and training camp roll around, the focus would be on football, not Fields.

Long story short: trading Fields might hurt the locker room — anger it, even — but it won’t destroy it.

Might it be unfair? Sure. But that’s life in the NFL. Fields knows that, and so does everyone who suits up to play the game. Heck, Moore is here via trade after just signing a contract extension with the Panthers. He knows firsthand how things can change in the blink of an eye.

Everyone will still come into the 2024 season with the same goal: winning a Super Bowl. Fans will keep showing up to live and die with each snap, perhaps even with a little extra intrigue about if the young buck can outdo Fields right away.

Life will go on. And who knows, the Bears might even be better for it.