It will still be a few months before the Chicago Bears set their course in stone at quarterback. Justin Fields remains employed by the organization. He’s beloved in the locker room. Nobody knows for sure what the future holds. Right now, it sounds like the plan of action is straightforward. GM Ryan Poles hopes to draft a quarterback #1 overall. Most believe that will be Caleb Williams. If that is the plan, the obvious countermove would be trading Fields to whichever team is willing to offer the biggest package of picks.
However, one would be incorrect if they thought that was the only option on the table. There is another people haven’t talked much about. Adam Schefter brought it up on ESPN. It appears the Bears have had internal discussions about drafting a quarterback at #1 while also keeping Fields.
The idea sounds absurd at first. Why would the Bears keep Fields when they can get a solid return for him in a trade? Not to mention that it might create an awkward situation in the locker room. Yet it’s important to remember who is in charge.
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Poles may wish for Justin Fields to be Alex Smith.
Don’t forget the Bears GM spent a decade with the Kansas City Chiefs as a scout and personnel director. He was there when the team drafted Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Many people forget that the Chiefs actually sat him for the entirety of that year, leaving veteran Alex Smith as the starter. The idea was obvious. They wanted Mahomes to take time absorbing the offense and learning the speed and complexity of the NFL level without taking the hits. He got to watch Smith operate. A year later, Kansas City traded Smith and elevated Mahomes to the starting job. He was an instant success.
Sitting a young quarterback is not a popular tactic these days, but it’s been proven to work quite a few times in recent years. Jordan Love just threw for 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns after sitting behind Aaron Rodgers for three seasons. Jalen Hurts sat in Philadelphia for most of 2020. Brock Purdy sat for most of 2022. Obviously, those guys weren’t the #1 pick in the draft, but Carson Palmer was, and he sat his entire rookie year. If this is something the Bears think would increase the young man’s odds of success, it’s worth considering.
Justin Fields is a professional. He would likely embrace the challenge and use the season as a chance to elevate his stock going into 2025. Will it happen? Doubtful. The Bears are likely to get a good enough offer to trade him, but it is a smart decision to at least discuss the idea.