The Chicago Bears have made a trade.
Former Miami Dolphins wide receiver and punt returner Jakeem Grant is headed to Chicago in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round pick, as NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero first reported Tuesday morning.
After this past week, it made sense that the Bears made a move for a couple of reasons. They lost David Montgomery for 4-5 weeks to a knee injury, which meant that rookie Khalil Herbert would get more time running the football alongside Damien Williams.
In order to allow Herbert more time in the back field, the Bears would need to replace their primary kick returner. Along with that, the Bears had a need at punt returner as well, because Nsimba Webster just isn’t cutting it.
While Jakeem Grant’s arrival helps the Bears rearrange their weapons a bit, it’s also a possible signal that they are closer to committing to Justin Fields than we might think.
Could the Chicago Bears be leaning more towards committing to Justin Fields this season than we thought?
Monday, we all heard head coach Matt Nagy once again give his two cents on the quarterback situation, calling Andy Dalton his starter when healthy. It’s a broken record story at this point. Every week, we’re hearing the same thing from Nagy. Dalton is his starter.
But, the pressure will be mounting on Nagy if Dalton is forced to miss Week 5 against the Las Vegas Raiders and Fields plays well. Against the Lions, Fields made some elite level throws and the offense moved efficiently under his leadership.
Look at it this way: would the Bears have invested future draft capital in bringing in a mere kick returner and sixth wide receiver if they didn’t at least believe they would be competitive the rest of the year?
Follow-up question: do we really believe that Nagy and Ryan Pace think the Bears will compete with Dalton under center?
Maybe we don’t want to answer that question — but that’s a story for another day.
For the sake of this topic, the Grant trade, let’s assume they ultimately figure out that Fields gives them the best chance to win. Maybe they aren’t more than a fringe Wildcard team, at this point, but Fields’ development and success still matter this year.
Getting better in an area of weakness means the Bears are at least committed to winning. And, if we assume they are indeed committed to winning, then we have to believe they will end up rolling with Fields for the majority of the season.
Nagy’s ego can only take him so far early in this season, and eventually he will have to fold, allowing the better quarterback to play.
The bottom line: Chicago traded future draft capital for a kick and punt returner. That doesn’t happen often. This means they want to win, and if they want to win, then Fields must not be far from getting the job for good.