PHOENIX -- Michael Vick and Justin Fields' names were in the sentences a lot this past season. The Bears quarterback broke Vick's single-game rushing record for a quarterback when he racked up 178 yards against the Miami Dolphins in Week 9. Fields also joined Vick and Lamar Jackson as the only quarterbacks to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season.
Despite Fields' impressive playmaking ability and clear growth in Year 2, there have still been questions from those outside Halas Hall about Fields' future in Chicago. With the No. 1 overall pick in their pocket, the Bears could, if they wanted, draft a quarterback and trade Fields.
The Bears don't plan on doing that, and Vick doesn't see any reason they would entertain the thought.
“I think absolutely the Bears should stick with Justin Fields," Vick said Tuesday during FOX's Super Bowl media availability in Phoenix. "Good quarterbacks are hard to find. You got a guy who just ran for 1,000 yards. If you bring in a passing game coordinator – he's another quarterback who was in his first year in the system. That second year is paramount throughout the offseason to learn what needs to happen.
"I think they are a step ahead of the curve right now. They just got to make Justin a better passer and get an offense around him that can really help him take it to the next level.”
Vick sees how great Fields can be if everything falls into place. But he also understands that a quarterback's talent isn't the only thing that will determine whether or not he reaches his full potential.
“I think your ceiling as a quarterback is all predicated on how well you’re coached and how good of a system and players are put around you," Vick said. "You can have all the talent in the world and if you don’t have the talent around you, don’t have the right coaching and the right play-calling at the right times, at the right moments then you will not succeed. A lot of these guys careers hang in the balance because they got to get the right tutelage around them. It’s unfortunate but that’s the way the game goes. There’s not a lot of Andy Reid’s and Nick Sirianni’s around. You got to go with what you got.”
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Bears general manager Ryan Poles enters the offseason armed with almost $100 million in salary cap and the No. 1 overall pick. He has more than enough ammunition this offseason to give Fields a competent offensive line and weapons to help him take a leap in Year 3.
Future Hall of Famer Rob Gronkowski was amazed by Fields' playmaking ability this past season. Like Vick, Gronkowski sees a bright future for the 23-year-old signal-caller, but the Bears have to hold up their end of the bargain.
"I mean ... that dude is an absolute beast," Gronkowski told NBC Sports Chicago on Tuesday at FOX's Super Bowl media availability in Phoenix. "There is no doubt about that. When I see that guy run, I think he's the best runner in the whole NFL. He just looks like a gazelle out there. Just the way he sprints and how he puts the burners on and he's just flying by defenders, flying by corners. I definitely think he's a franchise quarterback.
"I just think you need the right system around you when you are that type of talent and to utilize that talent in the right way," Gronkowski continued. "I feel like he's still kind of feeling it out in the NFL. He broke a couple records, so you just have to figure out a way to use that the right way. I believe he can have a very successful career. And get the right weapons around him as well that can utilize his skill set."
While all the focus is on the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles this week in Arizona, Fields and the Bears are a hot topic of conversation as they prepare to enter what could be a transformational offseason for the franchise.