Ryan Poles made it clear the plan is still for Justin Fields to start for the Chicago Bears next year. As any good GM would do, Poles did leave the door open ever so slightly to move on from Fields and draft a new QB like Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud. However, Poles also said he hasn’t received any concrete trade offers for Fields, or really anything else.
“It’s really just starter conversations right now,” Poles said. “Nothing specific about players, picks and all that. It’s just interest.”
Poles even acknowledged reports that emerged on Monday, which said he was leaning towards trading away the No. 1 pick to accumulate more draft capital, and lent those reports some more credence.
“I think that’s always been the case, we’ve always leaned that way,” Poles said. “Because Justin did some really nice things and I’m really excited about where his game is going to go. But at the same time, when you sit in our situation, No. 1 overall, you have to do your due diligence. You have to investigate everything. You have to spend time with those guys, just to make sure we’re making the right decision.”
For now, Poles is in information gathering mode. He’s gathering info on prospects from the team’s meetings with all the players. He’s gathering info on which teams could be interested in making a pre-draft trade, too. It’s highly unlikely that a trade comes together while all the GMs are together in Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. This is where the groundwork can be laid for a future deal, though. Poles indicated there’s a chance something comes together before free agency starts in a couple of weeks, too. There are benefits for the Bears to trade down before free agency opens up, especially if they receive a player as part of a package for the top pick. That would give Poles more clarity on what positions he needs to address with his salary cap money, and with his valuable draft selections.
Whatever happens, Poles wants Fields to know exactly what’s going on.
“What’s important to me, and I think everyone knows me by now and how I want to treat our players,” Poles said. “We’ll be in communication with Justin along the way to make sure that he knows what we’re doing and nothing’s a surprise to him.”