Everybody knows by now that the Chicago Bears will probably take a quarterback #1 overall in the coming NFL draft. Most think it’s Caleb Williams. Maybe so, but the fact remains it will be somebody. That means GM Ryan Poles must figure out what to do with Justin Fields. The Bears could keep him as a bridge option for one more year, but the far likelier outcome is they trade him to a quarterback-needy team elsewhere. For obvious reasons, the most popular destination discussed is the Atlanta Falcons. Fields is a Georgia native. Former GM Ryan Pace works in their front office. They’re too far out of the mix for a top QB in the draft. However, Adam Schefter has another team in mind.
The ESPN insider went on the Pat McAfee Show this week. During a discussion about the Pittsburgh Steelers, he stated the strong probability they would go after another quarterback. Their head coach Mike Tomlin may have one in mind.
The Steelers have shown regular interest in Ohio State players ever since Tomlin took over in 2007. That isn’t a surprise since the college is less than 200 miles from Pittsburgh. After years of working with Ben Roethlisberger, it makes sense the head coach would prefer a big, athletic quarterback. The Steelers undoubtedly scouted Fields in 2021. It’s fair to wonder if they might’ve traded up for him if he’d fallen a little further in the 1st round.
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Pittsburgh faces a challenge in the Justin Fields chase.
That is because of their placement in the draft order. By making the playoffs, their picks are all on the lower side of each round. This means if they want to offer the supposed price for Fields, a 2nd round pick, that might not be enough. They sit at #51 in the 2nd round. Almost every other team expected to have interest in Fields (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Washington, New England, and Minnesota) sit ahead of them. That means they will have to come forward with a stronger offer. Either they include a high pick in the 2025 draft or put the 20th pick on the table.
This might explain why Schefter, Tom Pelissero, and others have hinted that there is a possibility the Bears could get a 1st round pick for Justin Fields. They may have known the Steelers’ interest and what it might take to get him. Such an outcome would be ideal for Poles. He’d get to take his QB of choice at #1 overall and have two additional 1st round picks to build around him. Much of this depends on how desperate the Steelers are to make a push. They’ve tried to insist they’re comfortable with keeping Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph. Yet anybody with common sense knows that isn’t true.
They have to take a swing. Fields might be their best chance to land a long-term option.