There are plenty of arguments for and against choosing Justin Fields as the Chicago Bears' quarterback in 2024. Personally, I think Fields should stay because he's shown enough growth that I believe the Bears can with him. So I am in support of trading the No. 1 overall pick for a haul of draft picks and building a strong team around Fields. I also think another benefit of this approach is this: If Fields isn't the guy, the Bears will then have a strong roster and can find a QB as the final piece of the puzzle.
There are, of course, plenty of arguments against trading the pick and keeping Fields. I've heard most of them, and only two hold any water.
The first is that if you think Williams, Maye, or another QB in the draft is better than Fields and there won't be much of a step back during his rookie season as he learns to play the position at the NFL level. The second argument is that the quarterback contract clock would reset.
Every other argument seems to be an anti-Fields argument, and every single one I've heard has holes. I will demonstrate below.
1. Fields Can't Learn Another New System
This argument applies to those who believe Bears' offensive coordinator Luke Getsy should be fired. These folks believe that if Getsy goes, Fields should go and a rookie should come in, so that a rookie could start fresh on learning a new system. The thought is that Fields has already been in two different systems and learning a new system would lead to a backslide in his growth. But there's no evidence of that. Fields certainly seems smart enough to learn a new system in the offseason and be ready to ball in the fall. There's also the flip side — what if Getsy is fired and replaced by an OC who can better utilize Fields' talents?
2. You Absolutely Must Take A QB With the No. 1 Pick
Why? Again, if Williams or Maye or Jayden Daniels or Michael Penix Jr. is clearly better than Fields, AND if plugging a rookie QB in at starter won't set the team back for a year or two, I can see taking a quarterback and trading Fields. But why not trade the pick and build a deeper team? Quarterbacks can and do become draft busts, and even successful ones take time to learn usually. C.J. Stroud is an exception. Fields seems poised for continued growth. Yes, any pick could bust regardless of position, but it would hurt less and be easier to adjust for if it was not a QB. And, again, if Fields isn't the answer, you still have a strong team and can find a QB in the next draft or via free agency.
3. That Fifth-Year Option
If the Bears keep Fields they would likely pick up his fifth-year option, and if he plays well it might cost them a lot to pay him if they extend him beyond that. Perhaps too big a cap hit. But there are ways around this, including the franchise tag. If Fields is good enough to be here for the long term and the Bears want to spend elsewhere to keep the entire roster strong, it can be done, and done within NFL rules.
4. His Won-Loss Record
A lot of people point to Field's win-loss record and say he's not the guy because of it. But that's completely ignorant of context and deeply unfair. Fields played for a team that was falling apart in his first season. The team was openly tanking in his second year. He also has, at times, played behind a horrendous offensive line that couldn't block long enough from him to pass or run. The roster is better this year, and after a slow start to the season and an injury, Fields has been better just about every week. He has better weapons, the offensive line is better (though still in need of improvement), and the defense is better.
A quarterback's win-loss record is a bit like a pitcher's win-loss record in baseball. Even the best pitchers lose games in which the offense didn't support them or the bullpen blew it. Is Justin on the hook for games lost via a defensive collapse? Is it his fault if his OC calls a too-cute WR jet sweep on 3rd and 1 and it fails?
5. His Numbers Are Pedestrian
See previous paragraph. Also, his INT numbers aren't terrible and he appears to have improved at avoiding fumbles.
6. He Can't Pass from the Pocket/Is Not a Good Passer
While Fields needs to improve on anticipatory throws and get rid of the ball quicker, he's shown time and time again that he can be an accurate passer. He's getting better from the pocket and can pass well on the run. The Atlanta game showed this.
7. Being a Running QB is Unsustainable
Baltimore has shown this is BS with the way it utilizes Lamar Jackson. Justin can continue to get better at avoiding hits when he runs and improve as a pocket passer, as Jackson has.
8. He Hasn't Lead Many Fourth-Quarter Drives in Close Games
Being on a bad team doesn't provide many opportunities for game-tying or game-winning drives. And Fields has stepped up as the team has improved. He led a game-winning drive against the Vikings and was a dropped Hail Mary from surviving a collapse against Cleveland. He's shown the ability, he just hasn't had the opportunity.
At the end of the day, there are only two strong arguments for trading Fields. Either you think one of the young QBs is better and will be ready to be a playoff QB in year one or two, or you think the contract clock should be reset. Otherwise, your arguments have holes.
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