Fields Falling Could Benefit Chicago
It’s finally NFL Draft Day, Bears fans! It’s been a long 109 days since the Bears were eliminated from the playoffs, 21-9 by the New Orleans Saints back in January. The Bears have undergone a dramatic offseason of QB controversy with names being tossed around such as Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Derek Carr, and Jameis Winston, ultimately leading to the signing of Andy Dalton almost a month-and-a-half ago.
With the NFL Draft now just hours away, we have to ask ourselves the question: “Will the Bears make a move at QB tonight?” Let’s assess the situation in the Windy City. In late March, the Bears social media team released this cryptic picture on Twitter essentially committing themselves to Dalton as QB1.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 25, 2021
Ryan Pace even went as far to say at the beginning of the month that Dalton would be Chicago’s starter in 2021. However, we all know it’s impossible to talk about someone that is not on the roster yet, so what else is Pace supposed to say? The only other option on the roster would be Nick Foles, who went a disappointing, 2-5 as the team’s starter in 2020 before ultimately being replaced by Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky, signed a deal this offseason with the Buffalo Bills to become Josh Allen’s backup.
Enter: Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State
I’m not particularly fond of Ohio State quarterbacks, but one has to admit that Justin Fields may be the one exception to the recent failings of Buckeye QBs in the NFL. Fields has been to the College Football Playoff twice in his three years as Ohio State’s starting QB, going 1-2 including a national championship berth in 2021. In his one playoff win, Fields threw for over 380 yards, going 22/28 including 6 TD to just 1 INT in their semi-final blowout win over presumptive #1 overall pick, Trevor Lawrence, and the Clemson Tigers.
Given Mac Jones’ recent surge up draft boards, who the Bears were rumored early on to have interest in, and the rumor that the 49ers are showing favoritism in the Alabama QB, it is unlikely Jones will be wearing #10 in Chicago this fall. We have to also remember that Matt Nagy was in attendance for Fields’ second pro day at Ohio State, where he put on quite the show. Fields ended up finishing his Ohio State career with nearly 5,375 yards, a 68.4 passing percentage, 63 TD, and just 9 INT in 22 games. On the ground, Fields added to his total yardage with 867 rushing yards and 15 rushing TD. The Ohio State product is falling down draft boards for whatever reason, and it could mean the Bears could find themselves into a position to either move up or nab Fields at #20 overall. It would be no surprise to anyone to see Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, and Trey Lance all go within the top 10 picks. Where things get tricky for the Bears, is that Minnesota (#14), New England (#15), and even Washington (#19) all pick ahead of Chicago, and could just as easily spend their first round pick on an upgrade at QB. This means Pace would need to begin conversations with either New York (Giants), Philadelphia, or Los Angeles (Chargers) at #11, #12, and #13 in that order to potentially move up. The trade will obviously cost them the #20 pick and probably a 2022 First-Rounder as well.
The commitment to the Pace-Nagy regime will ultimately determine whether or not a deal is done tonight. The McCaskey’s have been patient with their GM and Head Coach, and it seems as though the leash the two are on is up at the end of the season baring a drastic turn of events in 2021 similar to their 2018 success. Approving a move made by a GM who may not be with the organization a year from now is a dangerous game to play if you’re ownership, because this affects the Bears future direction as well as the season the team is coming up on.
Whatever happens tonight, Chicago will be on the hot seat if Justin Fields makes it past pick #10, and the pressure will be there to make a move. Is Justin Fields the franchise QB that Bears fans so rightly deserve? Or, is he another “Mitch Trubisky” pick; doomed to haunt the franchise over the next four to five years? We’re about to find out the answers to these questions tonight!