Currently in their bye week and then with a month of games left, the Chicago Bears will soon enter the home stretch of another fruitless season. This one is especially disappointing because of all the early 2023 hype, particularly around their draft capital, salary cap space, and the alleged development of their alleged franchise quarterback.
What happens to Justin Fields? Will he remain a Bear in 2024? I already gave and still stand by my prediction that he will be replaced. Acknowledging that a new quarterback rewinds their rebuild clock, especially with so many other pieces of the team coming into form, does a QB change make sense?
Let’s lay down a few facts, or a least strong opinions that are hard to refute:
- Has Justin Fields improved year over year? Yes.
- Has his quarterback performance justified a long-term deal with the Bears? No.
- Have the Bears learned their lesson about running quarterbacks yet? No.
- Are the Bears getting better? Yes.
- Are there guarantees of continued offensive improvement with a quarterback change? Of course not.
I think everyone watching this past Monday night game against that Vikings knows that Fields is playing for his future with the team. What happens over the next month and how he performs could tip the scales in either direction. And this alone is reason why there will be, at best for Fields, no QB mega contract.
Justin Fields is a running back first and quarterback second. His instinct has always been to run when he gets into trouble. A quarterback who consistently runs tempts fate far more than average. If I recall, Trubisky got injured twice while running from cheap hits, and Fields had his thumb injured trying to turn nothing into nothing. How can a team ever justify a long-term quarterback deal when it likely all ends with a significant injury from running?
My football acumen is not great in these circumstances, but I hedge my Fields prediction with this, regardless of who the coaches are next year:
- Fields is signed to a two-year deal, with a team option for a third.
- The Bears use their third round draft pick on a quarterback.
This gives Fields one final chance with the cushion of a multi-year deal to prove he is the quarterback for the Bears long term. But it also leaves the door open for the Bears to explore another in-house option if things go bad. Competitive pressure at the game’s most important position can only help a team during what will be a pivotal season in this latest rebuild.
Thank you for reading my article. Donec deinde tempum.