Landing Justin Fields by himself was enough for Chicago Bears fans. They got what many still believe was the most talented quarterback in the 2021 class. A 6’3 guy with a ripped physique, cannon arm, and 4.41 speed. He can play from the pocket, take off and run, and make both on and off-schedule. On top of that, he held a 3.9 GPA in school and delivered the highest aptitude test score ever recorded by a prominent sports psychologist. This kid certainly looks like the total package.
Yet what not a lot of people are talking about is what the Bears did to get him. Going from 20th overall to 11th, giving up future 1st round pick, a 5th round pick, and a 4th round pick in the process. For some that price paid was too high. Others think it’s literal pennies compared to what Chicago was ready to give up for the likes of Russell Wilson just one month before. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune heard from an NFL executive who applauded the price the Bears paid. Why?
“Because at least they can surround the kid with some players,” the executive said. “Unless your roster is final or solid for the next three years, and no roster is really ever that way because of the turnover, then who are they going to improve the roster with if they land Wilson? Wilson would give them a premium player at the position but you can’t tell me that offense is ready to win now.
“They busted on Trubisky and they went all-in thinking they could chase a Lombardi Trophy with him. They didn’t have enough offensive weapons with him and don’t have enough offensive weapons to be a threat right now.”
It’s a fair point.
The Bears’ offense isn’t exactly swimming with Pro Bowlers. Allen Robinson is a stud but he’s also working on a one-year deal with no signs of an extension in sight. Who does that leave? Darnell Mooney had a nice rookie year but he’s still unproven. Anthony Miller is on the trade block. At tight end, it’s little better. Jimmy Graham had nine TDs last year but he’s 34 and clearly in decline physically. Cole Kmet still has a ton he needs to improve.
Running back might be their best overall position group. David Montgomery is solid with Tarik Cohen, Damien Williams, and now Khalil Herbert backing him up. The offensive line also looks serviceable across the board but again. Where is the star power? A good quarterback is great but he’s still at the mercy of the talent around him. This is where Pace and head coach Matt Nagy need to focus their efforts moving forward.
Justin Fields wouldn’t be the first QB the Bears failed to arm
Looking back over their history, Chicago was just as bad at building a structure around their eventual QB1 as they were at finding a QB at all.
Cade McNown in 1999
- Curtis Enis
- Marcus Robinson
- Bobby Engram
Rex Grossman in 2003
- Anthony Thomas
- Marty Booker
- Dez White
Jay Cutler in 2009
- Matt Forte
- Devin Hester
- Earl Bennett
Mitch Trubisky in 2017
- Jordan Howard
- Kendall Wright
- Josh Bellamy
Not since 1994 has a Bears QB walked into a pretty good situation when Erik Kramer had Lewis Tillman, Curtis Conway, and Jeff Graham waiting. Yet even that group was just fine. Hardly memorable compared to what Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady enjoyed each of the past two years. As much as Chicago loves defense, this regime has the responsibility to do everything in their power to surround Justin Fields with a championship-caliber supporting cast.
That means every dollar and every draft pick spent must have Fields as the #1 priority. The better job they do securing his supporting cast, the better their odds of him and the team being a success in the long term. They wanted to join the 21st century of NFL football? This is how it’s done.