The Chicago Bears have made their public stance on Justin Fields as clear as they can. He is the starter. When he’s healthy, the job is his. Nobody can criticize the organization for waffling on the subject despite Tyson Bagent going 2-2 in his absence. However, nobody has a clear answer when the question shifts to his future beyond 2023. All signs point to the Bears using the season’s final seven games as an evaluation period. They need to see more of what Fields showed in his two standout games against Denver and Washington.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has strong sources inside the organization. After reaching out to them, he came away with an interesting picture of where things stand. From what he gathers, the decision-makers in Halas Hall have not abandoned Fields by any means. They still believe in him. However, they also think his excuses are gone. The roster is better than it was last season. He should perform better down the stretch. As for the 2024 draft, that option remains open but by no means a lock.
Poles will keep an open mind.
The Bears faced a similar scenario this past March and opted to trade the No. 1 pick of the 2023 NFL Draft to the Panthers for multiple picks and wide receiver D.J. Moore, giving Fields at least one more year and giving themselves more resources to build their infrastructure with. Chicago needed to be blown away by a quarterback to select one in the 2023 draft and instead traded the pick.
Sources say it’s the same view heading into the 2024 draft. The Bears would need to be blown away by a rookie QB to move on from Fields three years after selecting him No. 11 overall in the 2021 draft.
What does Fields need to show in order to remain Chicago’s QB1?
Sources offered insight into the decision, noting that this year’s roster is stronger and more developed than last year’s. In other words, it presents the opportunity for a much fairer evaluation of Fields.
Justin Fields controls his own destiny.
Nobody can say the Bears didn’t give him a fair opportunity. He will be the starter for the rest of the season. Seven games remain. If he can put together a solid stretch of consistent play, there is a strong possibility they may keep the status quo. Chicago will bring him back in 2024, pick up his fifth-year option, and use their two 1st round picks in the draft to stack the roster around him. However, the stakes are also higher now. Most experts agree the incoming quarterback class, led by the two-headed monster of Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, is far stronger than last year.
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The next month may decide Justin Fields’ fate. He will play four games across five weeks. Three of them will be on the road. All will be against opponents with winning records and well-coached defenses. His track record in those scenarios hasn’t been great up to this point. If he puts together a solid string of performances and maybe a couple of unexpected wins, that could be a decisive turning point in the debate on whether to keep him. If he flops as many think he will, it may cement the Bears’ stance to make a change.