Latest On Bears’ Quarterback Situation

MARCH 10: ESPN’s Dan Graziano says the Bears did not find the trade market for Fields that they were hoping for (subscription required). Chicago, however, is not panicking and is willing to allow other quarterback dominos like Cousins and Mayfield to fall. Once some of the top players in the market find new homes or re-sign with their current clubs, there will still be a few QB-needy teams, at which point the interest in Fields should intensify.

While it now seems unlikely that Fields will fetch a second-round pick in a trade, the expectation remains that the Bears will eventually deal him and use the No. 1 pick on Williams.

MARCH 3: The situation of the Bears‘ future at the quarterback position has become quite a loaded topic. The closer we get to the 2024 NFL Draft, the more likely it’s beginning to seem that Chicago is attempting to move current starter Justin Fields as it prepares to move on to potential No. 1 overall draft pick Caleb Williams.

According to Diana Russini of The Athletic, chatter at the NFL scouting combine appeared to be consistent, with most believing that the Bears are moving on from Fields. Barring the team picking up his fifth-year option, 2024 would be the final year on Fields’ rookie contract. Instead of allowing Fields to play out his contract on the bench behind Williams, Chicago seems intent on dealing the 24-year-old and returning some value for a player they would eventually allow to walk in free agency.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tells us that many in the league see Fields garnering a potential Day 2 pick for his services. A second- or third-round pick may not be the ideal result for a former first-round selection, but it’s better than getting nothing when his rookie deal expires. Fowler names the Falcons, Steelers, Raiders, and Vikings as possible teams of interest in Fields’ acquisition. Atlanta has been repeatedly linked to the young passer lately, with many debating whether or not he is the best fit in a Rams-influenced systems under new offensive coordinator Zac Robinson. Fowler reports the chances as “fairly good” that the Falcons walk away with either Fields, Kirk Cousins, or Baker Mayfield, leaving a larger range of possibilities for what Atlanta is looking for.

The Bears have made the claim that they want to “do right” by Fields by not leaving him in a “gray area.” Still, having shown their intentions, the team doesn’t necessarily have the strongest bargaining position. Russini poses that the team may need other moves to influence the demand for Fields. She quotes an NFC general manager who explained, “When people know you are getting rid of something, they don’t pay as much for it.” If a few veteran quarterbacks that are also available get moved and decrease the number of options for quarterback-needy teams, a bidding war for Fields may ensue. In order for that to occur, a number of big quarterback names would need to get signed well before the draft.

The draft serves as an effective deadline because once the Bears draft Williams, Fields becomes superfluous, and it’s seeming more and more likely that Williams will be the pick come late-April. At one point, that seemed to be in question as there were rumors that the USC quarterback may force a trade in an effort to avoid playing for the Bears. Williams has since backed down from that notion, according to Pete Thamel of ESPN, expressing excitement and intrigue in the prospect of heading to Chicago.

“I’m not pushing any agenda,” Williams said. “At the end of the day, the Bears have the last say. Regardless of how I feel, I’m not pushing an agenda of, ‘Yeah, I want to go,’ or ‘no, I don’t want to go.’ I’m excited for whatever comes.”

Still, Williams expressed a healthy interest in the Commanders, as well. Getting drafted to Washington would send Williams back to the area in which he went to high school at Gonzaga College HS. While he acknowledged that it would be cool to be so familiar with the area, he emphasized that his job is going to be in the facility working on his game.

There was also thought to be some concern about Williams’ draft-ability after some recent comments from his father, Carl. Carl was the one who suggested that his son would get “two shots at the apple,” according to Kalyn Kahler of The Athletic, essentially suggesting that if the situation as a No. 1 overall pick isn’t favorable, Williams could simply return to school with his NIL deals. The quote from Williams’ father made the rounds, seeding concern in some scouting circles.

Since then, though, it seems the concern has subsided. The more he was put under the microscope, the more Carl appeared just to be a heavily involved father who was extremely invested in helping his child achieve the peaks of his career and abilities. When asked about the situation at the NFL scouting combine, Bears general manager Ryan Poles claimed that he has “no concerns about” Carl’s comments, at all.

So, things appear to be falling into place. The Williams-era seems well on its way to being ushered in, and the Fields-domino will need to fall soon as a result. With free agency set to open in a week and a half, the demand for Fields may soon grow. It’s up to Chicago to find the perfect time to pull the trigger if they ultimately decide to deal Fields.

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