The Chicago Bears face the biggest decision of any NFL team this off-season.
Faced with the likelihood of having the No. 1 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Bears will spend the first few months of the off-season debating whether to reset their quarterback clock by drafting USC’s Caleb Williams or move forward with Justin Fields as their starting quarterback.
There has been a belief that Fields, short of an unlikely playoff run, can do little to change the mind of Bears’ general manager Ryan Poles. The idea behind that thinking is that Poles wants to succeed or fail based on his handpicked quarterback.
That was essentially the consensus among all seven of the general managers that Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports spoke with when inquiring about what the Bears should do this off-season.
All seven of the general managers agreed that the Bears should trade Fields and move forward with Williams as their quarterback.
"“When you pass on talented quarterbacks to lean into a guy’s development, which the Bears did when they traded No. 1 last year, you have to be completely sure of that decision to do it a second time,” another AFC general manager said. “They might not have taken C.J. Stroud with the first pick last [offseason], but he was there for them to do it. Caleb Williams is a no-brainer, and if they get the top pick, he’s there for them. Sometimes the gamble is continuing to pass on players. Fields doesn’t get over the hump, you don’t want to be the guys that passed on both Stroud and Caleb Williams.”-Yahoo Sports"
The quarterback debate for the Bears is such a fascinating decision that will be made.
If one were to rewind back to the start of the season and think back to the list of bars that Fields was asked to clear this season, he has. Fields has shown improvement in playing from the pocket while also using his running ability as a way to open up the passing game for the Bears’ offense. The argument can be made that Fields has shown enough improvement this season that had the Bears not have the Carolina Panthers’ 2024 first-round pick, there wouldn’t even be a debate, the third-year quarterback would be the answer.
Unfortunately, for Fields, the Bears do have a likely path to having the first overall selection and there would be no fault of Poles if he did want to pin his success to his handpicked quarterback. The ask, if the change is made, is that Poles be sure that Williams can be inserted into the offense with the expectation of succeeding right away.