Justin Fields, despite rushing for over 1,100 yards this season and being the straw that stirs the drink for the Chicago Bears offense – one that finished 23rd in offense and, at one point, averaged over 30 points per game over four weeks – is still considered tradeable this offseason.
Certainly, there is evidence to support Fields' unpolished ability to throw the football. He didn't get to throw the ball enough for a thorough NFL evaluation. He ranked near the bottom of the league with just over 300 attempts, which he turned into a lowly 2,242 yards and 17 touchdowns.
But, it's too early, and Fields has shown enough of the intangibles this past season to give him a shot with an overhauled roster.
"My whole this is, I've seen enough out of Justin Fields to know that I want him to be my quarterback for the next few years," Peter King told NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock at Radio Row. "If I were the Bears, if I were Ryan Poles, I do not enter this year thinking 'Meh.'"
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The modern NFL teaches outsiders to give quarterbacks, especially young signal callers, a short period of evaluation before making a drastic decision about the future of their relationship with a team.
"I think what happens in the NFL today – and I live in New York, and I saw it with Zach Wilson this year," King said. "Essentially, Zach Wilson, this year, everybody in New York has decided 'Okay, get him out. He can't do it. Bring on the next guy.' Now, I think that is just absolutely stupid, and would be stupid if the Bears this year, if Justin Fields is not a top-12 quarterback this year, (say) we gotta move on from him."
Wilson is the perfect example to use for this type of modern NFL thinking.
The second-year quarterback threw for 1,688 yards and six touchdowns in nine games he saw on the field. He started in nine games – dealing with a knee injury to begin the season, but mainly benching from Robert Saleh and the Jets – recording a winning 5-4 record.
Yes, the Jets have hopes to make a run at the playoffs with their "championship-caliber defense," as Saleh once described it, which requires the ability of a top-tier quarterback to help make it happen. Yet, seemingly, they are ready to give up on Wilson, who has 22 games of NFL experience.
Sure, Wilson isn't a polished, or maybe even an NFL-ready quarterback. To mention his high-draft pick cost at the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft also isn't a fair assessment of his talent. But, he is a young, talented quarterback with loads of potential, despite what his past season says about him.
"The road is littered in the NFL with so many teams that gave up on quarterbacks early," King said. "And, if you look back a couple of generations, Terry Bradshaw failed about 50 times before finally he became one of the great quarterbacks ever.
Another great example, provided by King. If you took Bradshaw's case a step further – back to his time at Louisiana Tech – you would know he sat on the bench for two seasons behind Phil Robertson. Yes, the guy from the hit reality television show, Duck Dynasty.
Not every NFL career starts pretty. Yet, Fields has, so why look to trade him by way of drafting another with the No. 1 pick?
"I don't know how it's gonna end up with Justin Fields, all I do know is, first of all, I definitely wouldn't be thinking of trading him. Definitely. And I wouldn't be thinking that it's this year, or we've got to move on," King said.