Where Caleb Williams Will Rank Among the Best QBs in Bears History

It will not take much from Williams to cement himself as one of the Bears' greats.
NFL Combine
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Jim Harbaugh, Jim McMahon, and Mitchell Trubisky are ranked three, four, and five on the Bears' all-time leading passing yards list. None of them threw for more than 12,000 yards for the Bears. Sid Luckman ranks second with 14,686 yards and Jay Cutler tops the list with 23,443 yards. This is all very depressing to read as a Bears fan, I understand that and apologize. However, the point I am trying to make is that the bar for success could not possibly be set any lower for an NFL franchise.

Hype Out of College

The highest quarterback drafted in Bears' history was Mitchell Trubisky in 2017 when they traded up to No. 2 overall to select him. Trubisky was highly regarded by scouts, but his college stats did not pop off the page by any means. Granted, the game is different now with a lot more passing and spread offenses. Nonetheless, Trubisky had 4,762 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions over three seasons at North Carolina. Sid Luckman was also selected second overall, but we don't need to dive into those numbers as the forward pass was still becoming a thing.

The next highest quarterback drafted was the Punky QB, Jim McMahon in 1982 when they selected him 5th overall. Now the game has clearly evolved since then - even more than the Trubisky comparison - but McMahon threw for 9,536 yards, 84 touchdowns, and 34 interceptions in four years at BYU.

Justin Fields was selected 11th overall in 2021. Fields was electric in college for one of the best teams in the nation, the Ohio State Buckeyes, after transferring from Georgia. In three collegiate seasons, Fields threw for 5,701 yards, 67 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions. That touchdown-to-interception ratio is outstanding, but he was not viewed as an elite passer at the next level and played with numerous first-round picks on offense.

Caleb Williams will no doubt be the greatest prospect the Chicago Bears have ever selected at the quarterback position. In three years between Oklahoma and USC, he threw for 10,082 yards, 93 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. He consistently made plays with his arm and his tape is full of "wow" plays that you only see from the best in the game today. The 2022 Heisman winner makes a case as the most talented thrower of footballs the Bears' 104-year history has ever seen the day he steps foot in Chicago.

Jay Cutler Would Like a Word

Jay Cutler is statistically the best quarterback in Bears' history. Say what you want about his love for the game and the attitude he had, the guy was very talented. Cutler had one of the strongest arms we can remember in the league, and surely in Bears' history. Cutler had three seasons with over 3,500 yards passing with the Bears, but never eclipsed the highly-joked about 4,000-yard season. Yes, the Bears have still never had a 4,000-yard passing season; they are the only team in the NFL that has not accomplished it yet. The Texans have six such seasons now and they have only been a franchise for 22 years.

Cutler was acquired from the Broncos in a trade and the hope was that the Bears were finally getting a franchise guy to lead them for years to come. Cutler did not disappoint entirely, but some fans will always have a bad taste in their mouth from the NFC Championship loss to the Packers in 2011 where Cutler was unable to finish due to injury. After seeing him standing on the sideline, many fans were outraged that he should have played. If he wins that game and takes them to a Super Bowl, who knows what the conversations are like today?


Williams' ceiling is the best quarterback in Bears' history and his floor (barring injury) is still top 10 in my opinion. Justin Fields is currently 10th in Bears passing with 6,674 yards and he missed multiple games in his three seasons with the Bears. He also does not posses the skillset in passing that Williams does. Williams will be walking into one of the better situations ever for a rookie quarterback with pieces around him such as Keenan Allen, D.J. Moore, D'Andre Swift, and Cole Kmet. The Bears were also 7-10 a season ago so they are far from the very worst team in the league - often the case for No. 1 overall picks.

If Caleb does not live up the crazy hype he has warranted thus far, he still has a shot to land in the Bears' top 10 since the bar is simply set that low. If Williams is able to land a new contract after his rookie one, he will all but surely pass up Cutler. Cutler played for seven seasons and the game has changed immensely since then. Williams has the talent to become one of the games' greats, but I think Bears fans are still holding their breath based off of history.

It is time for Bears fans to let the breath out and accept they may have a guy finally. If Williams comes into town and has a 4,000-yard season eventually or leads them to a deep playoff run, they will build a statue of him on Michigan Avenue with pink fingernails.

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