With the Bears owning the No. 1 overall pick, Fields will be at the mercy of general manager Ryan Poles’ evaluations of this year’s crop of top quarterbacks, including US. star Caleb Williams.
Poles already passed on Bryce Young and Fields’ former Ohio State understudy CJ Stroud last season, and the Stroud decision will earn Poles some scrutiny after 2023’s No. 2 overall pick finished the fifth rookie 4,000-yard passing season in NFL history and led the Houston Texans to the playoffs for the first time since 2019. So maybe that, combined with Fields’ pedestrian overall passing performance, will lead the Bears to go in a different direction at quarterback.
As of right now, the odds feel heavily in favor of that happening.
There are simply a ton of hurdles in Fields’ path to remaining the Bears quarterback of the future: contracts, fourth-quarter passing stats, win-loss record, turnover problems, you name it.
As much as the Bears’ locker room (and perhaps upper management) love Fields the leader and might see him as having the capability to be a top-10 quarterback, how can Chicago comfortably invest in him if he hasn’t proved It consistently?
Disagree if you want, of course, but these are exactly the questions Warren, Poles and (likely) head coach Matt Eberflus will be asking themselves this offseason when weighing Fields against a host of talented prospective passers.
So, having laid all that out, here’s to (maybe) one last ride with Justin Fields as the Bears’ quarterback.
What a ride it’s been, from the excitement of the night to what could be his last chance to get his first win over the Packers in a Bears uniform.
The “lows” have been Grand Canyon-esque: that first NFL start against the Cleveland Browns where Fields had one net passing yard and the first three games of 2023 stand out there.
The highs have been truly rarified air: the wild rookie comeback against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the insane stretch of 2022 where he put the Bears on his back and broke records for quarterback rushing yards and his two-game stretch with eight passing touchdowns just this year.
Through it all, Fields has maintained a level head and gotten better every season, even if the progress wasn’t always as much as we wanted to see. He’s also earned the respect of his teammates, his coaches and his opponents week in and week out.
He’s battled through a situation that would lay many young quarterbacks low to turn himself into a solid NFL starting quarterback — one who probably could be a top-10 passer given the right conditions.
Maybe that dream scenario could unfold here in Chicago if the team trades the top pick and gets Fields some help at wide receiver. More likely, he may have a shot with the Atlanta Falcons’ loaded skill position group or the Los Vegas Raiders with Davante Adams (if he doesn’t get himself traded from there anyway).
Playing good football in Green Bay today will help him start the offseason on the right foot, whatever comes next.
It’s easy to be a fan of Justin Fields. So let’s try to enjoy the experience one time for the one time. Go Bears.