Is Justin Fields on the way out from the Bears?
The Chicago Bears find themselves at the bottom of the NFL power rankings for the second consecutive year, sparking rumors about the futures of quarterback Justin Fields and coach Matt Eberflus. While no definitive decisions have been made, it is being suggested that there could be a trade market for Fields.
Heading into the 2023 NFL season, many anticipated that Fields would have a breakout third year. With over 1,000 rushing yards in the previous season and the addition of wide receiver D.J. Moore, the Bears appeared poised for improvement. However, the team’s offensive performance has remained lackluster.
Justin Fields’ 2023 statistics include a 58% completion rate, 526 passing yards, a 3-4 touchdown-interception ratio, a 67.7 QB rating, 6 yards per attempt, and 13 sacks in three games.
It has become increasingly clear that the Bears have lost confidence in Fields as their long-term starting quarterback. Just a year after retaining the former Ohio State standout and trading down from the No. 1 overall pick, it now seems more likely that Chicago will seek a new quarterback in 2024.
If this scenario unfolds, the Bears will promptly initiate efforts to trade Fields across the league. Fortunately, the team anticipates significant interest, and a potential trade could bring in valuable returns.
During an appearance on the Yahoo Sports’ Inside Blitz podcast, senior NFL insider Charles Robinson revealed that he has heard from multiple general managers who believe there will be teams willing to offer more for Fields than what the Dallas Cowboys traded for Trey Lance.
“I’ve talked to a couple of GMs about Justin Fields. They’re like, ‘It’s not a Trey Lance situation. He has shown an ability to have a nice ceiling, something to reach for as a starter. He’s got experience, he probably just needs to be with the right coach. Maybe he does still need to be a backup in some situations, but he’s going to be worth an asset.”
Fields’ contract does introduce some complexities into the equation. Should any team acquire him after completing his third NFL season, they would need to decide on the fifth-year team option for 2025, which comes with a price tag of over $20 million, fully guaranteed. Opting for this option would likely make Fields a short-term quarterback rental.
In contrast, the Dallas Cowboys traded a 2024 fourth-round pick to the 49ers for Trey Lance, taking advantage of his reduced trade value due to his limited playing time since his standout season at North Dakota State.
Unless there’s a remarkable turnaround, the Bears are poised to hold two top picks in the 2024 draft. Such a situation would likely result in a new regime taking over, with the incoming general manager and head coach having the opportunity to handpick their next quarterback.