The Chicago Bears have some major decisions upcoming at the quarterback position. The Bears are in line to pick first or second in the 2024 NFL Draft, which puts them in position to grab one of either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, the top two quarterback prospects in the upcoming class. But with the way Justin Fields has played in the second half of the season, it's possible that he's given Chicago GM Ryan Pace enough to think about to pass on the quarterback position once again in 2024.
And the decision to pass on the 2023 class isn't talked about quite enough, is it? As good as DJ Moore is, the Bears could have used the 1st overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft on rookie sensation CJ Stroud. Situation and circumstances undoubtedly matter, but can the Bears pass on Stroud in 2023 and then both Caleb Williams and Drake Maye in 2024?
Has Justin Fields played that well?
The question of timing here is an interesting one, too. Fields is currently in his third season, which means the Bears will have to decide this offseason whether or not they are going to pick up Fields's fifth-year option for 2025 or if they are going to decline it and gamble a little bit. Are they going to continue building around Fields and believe in the process they're seeing unfold right now, or will they reset the clock on a new quarterback and maintain that flexibility?
The Bears could keep Fields and see what happens. It would be a risk to pass on both Caleb Williams and Drake Maye, but Fields has played well enough at this point that I don't think anyone would totally write that off as a horrendous decision.
The Bears could trade Fields at his maximum value. He's played well enough at this point that I think we could absolutely see Chicago get a first-round pick from some team in exchange for Fields. So you're not just talking about a one-for-one swap of Fields and some rookie, you're talking about passing on the chance to add another first-round pick potentially as well as taking Williams/Maye with that top two pick.
But Fields is slowly but surely putting things together...
As of the time of this post being written, Fields is lighting it up against the Atlanta Falcons with a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown, showing off the full gambit of his skill set. He has helped the Bears win three of their last five games and they're on their way now to winning their fourth in the last six.
The issue facing the Bears right now is the fact that Fields has three games in a row going into Week 17 with a completion percentage under 56. He also has made a lot of plays and a lot of big-time throws. We all know how dangerous Fields is as a runner.
But can the Bears bank their future on him? Is it a smarter move to get the most value they can in a trade and turn to one of these young guys in the NFL Draft?
The most difficult offseason of Ryan Pace's GM tenure awaits in 2024.