Bears GM Ryan Poles Addresses Justin Fields Trade; Latest On QB’s Preferred Destinations

In moving on from Justin Fields earlier this month, Bears general manager Ryan Poles accomplished his stated goal of doing right by the former first-round quarterback. The latter recently spoke about the tepid trade market which was in place and the efforts made by the team to send Fields to a situation with a potential path to a starter’s role.

The Steelers moved quickly in acquiring Fields for a conditional sixth-round pick not long after adding Russell Wilson. The decision to trade away Kenny Pickett after Wilson’s arrival set the stage for the Fields swap and with it the complete overhaul of Pittsburgh’s QB room. A recent report indicated the Steelers’ offer was not the best one made to Chicago, something Poles confirmed when speaking at the league meetings.

“There were other teams,” Poles said, via Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Chicago“The Steelers were just an opportunity where it was almost like more of a… they have a starter with Russ, but there was more of an open competition it felt like from my perspective where there were other opportunities where there were some quarterbacks that were either veteran guys or young guys that had already been paid, so it would have been a tougher situation for him to get on the field.”

Fields is already known to have preferred going to Pittsburgh, but further clarity on his other potential landing spots has emerged. ESPN’s Brooke Pryor reports the 25-year-old was also considering the Vikings, Raiders and Falcons prior to the start of free agency. Kirk Cousins‘ decision to depart Minnesota and join Atlanta left the Falcons as a backup-only destination; the same could have held true in the case of the Vikings given their addition of Sam Darnold as a short-term Cousins replacement.

The Raiders (previously connected to a Fields trade) already have Aidan O’Connell in place, and the team added veteran Gardner Minshew as a bridge starter or high-end backup. Vegas could be in the market to draft a passer next month, and as a result a Fields deal would have left the Ohio State product in a murky situation. That also would have been the case, of course, had Poles elected to keep Fields while still selecting a quarterback with the first overall pick in the draft.

“I know there was a lot of talk about having Justin there and drafting a quarterback as well,” Poles added. “We had a lot of deep conversations and I got some really good guys on my staff to really dig into how that would play out in terms of the locker room, how would that play out with a young guy that needs a lot of reps, how would that play out with just the command and leadership that you need in that position and we felt like it was best to probably move on and allow a young quarterback to come in and work into that role.”

With Fields no longer in the picture, Caleb Williams remains on track to hear his name called first on draft night. A QB room featuring both passers would have created an awkward situation, but the former is now in place to compete for a No. 1 in a new environment while Chicago is positioned to start fresh under center.

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