A Lingering Fear About Justin Fields Apparently Fueled Trade Decision

There were many reasons that led to trading Justin Fields. It starts with the Chicago Bears landing the #1 pick in the draft. If that hadn’t happened, there is a good chance he’d still be on the roster. However, GM Ryan Poles got lucky and now has the freedom to choose any quarterback in the class he wants, and this one appears to be stronger than last season. There is also the contract issue. Fields has only one year left on his rookie deal. He will start getting a lot more expensive in 2025.

A Lingering Fear About Justin Fields Apparently Fueled Trade Decision

However, one pressing concern for Poles and other Bears brass went unsaid. That is until the GM sat down with Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Chicago. It centered around Fields’ style of player. While he did make strides as a passer last season, he still leaned heavily on his running ability to make plays. It led to some incredible highlights and another top-ranked rushing attack. Unfortunately, one thing stuck in the back of Poles’ mind while they were watching it.

How long could Fields keep it up?

“I think the efficiency in the pass game,” Poles said. “Again, I’m well aware, you know, before I got here and our first year, it was really challenging, right? Like there just wasn’t a ton around him, which is difficult and really unfortunate, too. But also, just like, when you look at a guy who is so explosive as a runner, you also have to ask yourself, like, longevity-wise, being able to hold up. You needed – just like that timeline. Everyone has got a timeline to become more efficient as a passer, and that kind of comes into play.

“There was progress, but then when you kind of pair up before you have to get to a contract conversation, it becomes really, really difficult. I think in the right situation, he can continue to grow and find that extra timeline in whatever way and with whatever team. But I do believe there is a higher ceiling that he can reach. It’s just when you’re trying to build this thing up and create that structure, it gets really, really difficult when that salary goes way, way up.”


Justin Fields was traveling down the Michael Vick path.
Everybody remembers how insane Vick was for multiple years in Atlanta. The problem was he never really progressed as a passer. He leaned on his ridiculous speed as a runner every year. It helped the Falcons win games, but it also led to a lot of wear and tear on his body. By his early 30s, Vick was missing a lot of games every year because of injuries. By age 32, his effectiveness had dropped to such a degree that he became a backup. This isn’t an isolated case. Kordell Stewart burned out fast after a hot start to his career. The same went for Randall Cunningham and Roger Staubach.

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Their mobility was both a gift and a curse.

For all of Justin Fields’ brilliance as the ground, he didn’t do enough to protect himself. He stayed open to way too many unnecessary hits. As a result, he missed a lot of games between 2022 and 2023. Poles understood his responsibility was to give the Bears the widest window possible to compete for a championship. That could only be done if the quarterback stayed on the field and healthy. The way Fields was going that would become a greater challenge the closer he got to his 30s.

It is hard to blame the Bears for such thinking.

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