Sunday, April 21, 2024

Why Rick Mirer Should Inspire Hope For A High Return If Justin Fields Is Traded


In one week, the NFL will be in full offseason mode as one of the teams having the most interest in their potential moves is the Chicago Bears and their quarterback position. Many believe that Chicago will use the first overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft on a quarterback, while it is also speculated that the team will trade current quarterback Justin Fields. Due to Fields’ potential, analysts believe he will be highly sought after by other NFL teams, which could result in the acquisition of a first-round pick, as there has been precedent for this before, including the Bears and Rick Mirer.

The Bears Trading For Rick Mirer Demonstrates How NFL Teams View Former First Round Quarterbacks

During the 1997 offseason, several quarterbacks were available via trade or free agency, including Mirer and Jeff George. The Bears were coming off a seven-win campaign in 1996, where they lost their starting quarterback, Erik Kramer, to a season-ending injury only four weeks into the year. Despite having several needs on their roster, Chicago’s front office was determined to shore up the quarterback position and was in the market to find a credible starter.

In February of 1997, the Bears traded the 11th overall selection in the 1997 NFL Draft to the Seattle Seahawks in return for Mirer, who had been in the league for four years. The acquisition was highly controversial given the quarterback’s noted struggles in Seattle, despite being drafted second overall in the 1993 NFL Draft. During his four years with the Seahawks, Mirer started 51 games, passed for 31 touchdowns, was intercepted 46 times, and six rushing touchdowns.

Subscribe to the BFR podcast and ride shotgun with Dave and Ficky as they break down Bears football like nobody else.

The trade was a complete failure as Mirer started three games and played in seven games total in 1997 as he struggled significantly in executing Chicago’s offense. In his three starts, the Bears failed to score a touchdown with him under center as he was benched in the second half of two of the three starts due to his horrific play. Chicago would move on from Mirer following the 1997 season as the move would go down as arguably the worst trade in Bears’ history.

Despite the failure of the trade, it demonstrates how NFL teams view former first-round quarterbacks and the belief that they can find success where another franchise has failed. Through three seasons in the league, Fields has shown that he is, at best, a mid-level starting-caliber quarterback with a high level of potential if placed in the right situation. Additionally, the market is perfect for Bears’ general manager Ryan Poles, as there are numerous NFL teams in dire need of a qualified signal-caller and who don’t have the proper resources to draft a prospect at the position.

Over the past weeks, there has been significant speculation as to what Poles and the Bears would receive in return in a potential Fields trade, as some analysts have gone as far as to believe that a top-ten draft choice could be in play. The best aspect of a move is that Chicago’s quarterback has played enough games to where there is still a contentious debate on whether he can develop into an elite-level talent. That belief for an NFL team, mixed with a high demand for a starting-level signal-caller, will drive an asking price to a high level for Chicago.

The Market For Trading a Former First Round Quarterback Has Been Recently Set

NFL teams have not been shy of trading for former first-round quarterbacks, even if they did not live up to their full potential with the teams that drafted them. In the last few years, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, DeShaun Watson, and Trey Lance all have been traded by the teams that selected them, as other NFL franchises gave up valuable draft assets. To acquire Watson, the Cleveland Browns gave up three first-round selections, while the Carolina Panthers gave up multiple picks, including a second-round selection for Darnold. The 49ers, despite giving up three first-round picks in a trade-up to select Lance, were able to secure a fourth-round selection in return for him, despite only playing in a total of eight games and suffering a gruesome leg injury in 2022.

It is intriguing as there is potential that the Bears could get, at most, a first-round selection for Fields if they leverage their quarterback in the right way to the needy teams that can’t draft a prospect. In the case of Lance and Watson, teams still parted with draft choices despite the quarterbacks missing significant time and having future uncertainty due to injuries and off-field issues. Fields has none of those concerns and still has multiple years on his rookie contract if Chicago decides to exercise the fifth-year option to increase the potential value for a trade.

The Mirer situation provides hope because it further shows how it takes just one franchise to believe they see something that others might not. Chicago did not need to offer such a valuable draft selection for a quarterback who had already shown what he was capable of through 50 starts, especially with Kramer still on the roster. Their desperation and unwillingness to value such a high draft selection in a situation that didn’t call for it demonstrates how it could happen again for an even better talent.

The Bears are in one of the best draft positions ever for an NFL team, as they own the first overall selection while having a tradable quarterback that could either garner a day one or day two draft pick in return. Poles can manipulate the market to get the highest return for his current starter while choosing whatever prospect he wants and even getting additional draft choices if a tradeback is executed. The Mirer trade will go down as potentially the worst in franchise history, but a trade of Fields with an unexpected level of compensation may be karma for the deal struck 27 years ago.


Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
scott brs
scott brs
Feb 6, 2024 11:22 am

Dr. Melhus…. I don’t remember Mcnown playing for Oklahoma or USC but I could wrong

Feb 6, 2024 10:36 am

You could say the same about where they were drafted (Brock Purdy). He seems to have turned out ok.
It’s pretty obvious it comes down to the situation they’re thrown into.

Feb 6, 2024 10:24 am

– I’ll say this again, you can’t pin records on college QB’s to predict if they will be good or not. Mahomes at TX Tech was 0-9 in his career against ranked teams. I think he turned out ok.

Last edited 2 months ago by BearDownTX
Feb 6, 2024 10:07 am

Can’t ignore that caveat about JF being mid-level but high potential in the right situation. I guess trading him means the Bears aren’t capable of creating the right situation. Might have a point there given the history but the opportunity certainly exists with a #1 that could be turned into multiple quality draft picks. Or keep repeating history and waste the opportunity on one player with an 11th ranked qbr, a losing record against ranked competition and seemingly more focused on building his brand than actually winning football games. Poles heard the fans after a decisive win against Atlanta on… Read more »

Feb 6, 2024 9:45 am

Erik didn’t write this – The writing is on the wall for Fields and all his cultists have tears streaming down their faces.
I’m a Bears fan, not a player fan! I will support the player(s) while they are here and wish them the best, but when they have proven with their play that there are better options, I am going to root for those options! If you’re that die-hard of a Fields fan you can’t see this, and you should just move on and be a fan of the team he gets moved to.

Chicago SportsNEWS
Recommended for you

Give us your thoughts.x