Heading into the 2024 offseason, the future of Chicago Bears starting quarterback Justin Fields is firmly up in the air. Fields has been the starter for the Bears over the last three seasons, and even though his career got off to a slow start, he seemed to really pick things up in year three.
Fields had his best season yet in terms of completion percentage (61.4) and threw for 2,562 yards on 370 pass attempts, both career-highs as well.
But was the progression of Fields over the last two years good enough for the Chicago Bears to keep him in place as their QB1 going forward? The Bears have reached the proverbial fork in the road with Fields, who is slated for free agency in 2025 as of right now. Fields was not drafted by the current regime in Chicago, led by GM Ryan Poles.
Poles, however, has decided to stick with Fields even though he had the #1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Instead of drafting CJ Stroud, Bryce Young, or Anthony Richardson, Poles went out and acquired DJ Moore in a blockbuster deal, relinquishing the #1 pick in the process.
He's now gotten a rare "mulligan" and owns the #1 overall pick yet again in 2024. He now has to decide if he's going to truly attach his job to Justin Fields, or if he's going to reset the clock and draft Caleb Williams out of USC. Given the fact that the Bears are making a change at offensive coordinator, the idea of a new quarterback only makes sense.
At this point, it seems clear that the Bears are going to move on from Fields and move over to Williams. There's just no way that Ryan Poles can pass on CJ Stroud one year and Caleb Williams the next. Fields will be looking for a new team, and thanks to his progression this past season, the Bears might even be able to squeeze a first-round pick out of someone, or potentially something pretty close in value.
And there is one clear and obvious fit for Fields in a potential trade: The Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons are in no-man's land when it comes to the quarterback position. Neither Desmond Ridder nor Taylor Heinicke is going to be a long-term starting option for the team. Picking 8th overall in this draft, the Falcons might rather take their chance with the dynamic Fields for a year or two than stick themselves with someone who might be the 3rd, 4th, or 5th option on their board in the draft.
The Falcons' offense needs to flow through Bijan Robinson and the running game. Fields can give them a dynamic weapon who can create with his legs and hopefully get this team back to the playoffs.
If the Bears give Fields any say in where he goes, he and his agent need to be pushing for Atlanta. It's an added bonus that Fields is a Georgia native and would be playing close to home. He'd have a chance to establish himself in his own backyard with a team that looks pretty loaded at the skill positions, and could get even better early on in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Especially if the Falcons are able to get Fields without giving up their first-round pick, imagine what they could do in the NFL Draft and free agency to surround him with playmakers.
And in that case, even if Fields didn't end up working out, the Falcons will have built a deadly group of skill players offensively to surround another QB at some point down the line.