All of the hype in Chicago has been on the number one pick in the draft and the implications for Justin Fields. The main presumption that I’ve heard is that the Bears are planning to draft Caleb Williams and move Justin Fields. I have been dubious about this all along for a few reasons:

  1. This presumes that Caleb Williams checks all the boxes for Ryan Poles. We don’t know that for a fact.
  2. This also dismisses the quality of person and leader that JF1 is by all accounts, and while he may exhibit similar (or possibly even better) traits, we don’t know any of that about Caleb Williams yet.
  3. With the addition of Keenan Allen, it sure seems like they’re not going after a top-10 WR in the draft, so they could look at help on the lines higher in the draft. Is this a top-5 WR group now?
  4. They could trade that number 1 for good picks and get a lower-rated QB (with upside, meets their criteria) that could learn behind JF1. If it becomes apparent that coaches and receivers were the issue and JF1 flourishes, great – you have done right by him as predicted. (If he doesn’t, you have his replacement in the wings, ready to compete with a world-class receiving corps.)
  5. I have been wondering all along why they’d want to evict Justin Fields. They have him for another year on a rookie contract (affordable) and he has a rapport with most of the team. They’d just be looking for a veteran QB to backup the new guy, anyhow – why not Fields?
    1. Rodgers came in under Favre, Love came in under Rodgers, Herbert came in under Rivers, Brady came in under Bledsoe, etc.
    2. Even if you find out that Fields is the guy after all, you still have leverage with an unproven 1st-round pick. Look at Jimmy G for an example. I would have loved to get him from the Patriots; wouldn’t touch him with a 10-ft pole now.
    3. We’ve done the veteran dance a bunch, recently, and it always is sad and feels like the wrong direction. (Remember when they gave Mike Glennon the keys to the kingdom?) If JF1 doesn’t pan out, he’s still a more trustworthy backup than almost anyone.

So, maybe I’m a meathead and am not thinking about the dollars and cents in the way an NFL agent or GM does, but I do believe there’s a way Justin stays. It makes more sense to me if it’s with a lower-ranked QB, but still possible with Williams or Maye.

I don’t want to wish this year away (I barely registered that 2023 happened!) but I’m looking forward to an end to the speculation.