Breer: Bears likely keep Fields, try to trade No. 1 pick


After a brief moment of hysteria when the Bears locked up the No. 1 pick in the draft and folks started wondering if the Bears would ditch Justin Fields to draft a new quarterback, a consensus has started forming that Fields will be back with the Bears next year. On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated senior NFL reporter Albert Breer added his voice to that chorus.

“My sense is that they’re going to move forward with Justin Fields and try to trade the first pick,” Breer said in an interview with Rich Eisen. “Could that change based on their evaluation of Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, Anthony Richardson? Sure. But I’ve talked to enough people there that feel like Justin didn’tー there wasn’t enough around Justin to get a really clean evaluation on him last year, and given what he had, what he did was really, really impressive.”

Ryan Poles expressed a similar sentiment towards Fields in his end of year press conference last month. Essentially, Poles said he expected Fields to lead the team once again next year, and he would need to be “absolutely blown away” to make the decision to trade Fields and draft someone like Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud.

Fields more than earned the opportunity to lead the Bears moving forward given his remarkable 2022 season. He showed real improvements in the passing game and took a historic leap forward as a runner. Fields broke the Bears’ single-season rushing record for a quarterback with 1,143, and fell just 64 yards short of breaking Lamar Jackson’s 2019 NFL record. According to Breer, the Bears value more than just Fields’ growth in the offense.


“We’ve heard about the friction and bitching from Mac Jones, and everything else. Did we hear one word from Justin Fields complaining about his circumstances? No. So I think that there is an appreciation not only for how Justin played, how he put his body on the line, but also how he handled all of it. He kind of had a square jaw about the whole thing. Like, ‘I’m taking the responsibility here because I am the franchise quarterback,’ and I think that scored him a lot of points with people in that organization.”

This doesn’t mean the Bears are sold on Fields to give him a monster contract to keep him in Chicago long term. But they at least want to see what he can do with more playmakers, better protection and another year in Luke Getsy’s system.

“I’m not saying he’s going to be their quarterback 10 years from now, I don’t know that,” Breer said. “But I think with a lot on the line personally, he will be their quarterback in 2023.”

The NFL Draft begins Apr. 27.

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