Why did the Bears trade Justin Fields to the Steelers?

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By journalsofus.com


CHICAGO – Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Polese was the chief director of college scouting in 2017 when Kansas City drafted quarterback Patrick Mahomes, sitting for a year and learning behind veteran starter Alex Smith. Poles know that mobility can work.

But he wasn’t facing that situation with the Bears.

Instead of a proven starter like Smith, the Bears signed Justin Fields entering his fourth season with questions about his development. Adding a No. 1 pick like USC quarterback Caleb Williams to the mix, even just for offseason workouts and training camp, could make the situation untenable, or at least awkward for both players. With several Bears players recently expressing strong support for Fields, the possibility of discord in the locker room has to be considered.

The Phillies averted that scenario by trading Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night for a 2025 sixth-round pick, which turns into a fourth-rounder if Fields plays 51% of offensive snaps this season.

“You just can’t [have both on the roster],” an NFL assistant coach told ESPN before the trade. “The league won by bluffing Chicago.

“They ain’t got nothing [Fields]And he just needs to let go.”

Obviously, this was not the compensation the Poles had originally asked for. A source with knowledge of the team’s plans told ESPN that the Bears had initially set their sights on a second-day draft selection and a late conditional 2025 selection. Six teams, including Pittsburgh, came in with a variety of offers, most of which envisioned Fields as a backup.

Due to the flurry of QB activity, the market for Fields was shrinking. After being unable to move Fields before the start of free agency, multiple NFL front office sources told ESPN they believe Chicago’s best chance to get the compensation it wants — or close to it — would be when When a team misses a quarterback. The draft is expected to be ready in April.

The Poles could also wait until the start of the season, and when a starting quarterback was injured, that team could be included in trade talks.

But when Poles said during the coalition in February that he wanted to “do right” by Fields, it meant that he would not be held in subjection for long before being disposed of. It also meant that he should not deal with a team that had a young starting quarterback and the Steelers fit that criteria after signing Russell Wilson to a one-year deal.

“We have participated in several trade conversations in recent weeks and we believe that trading Justin to Pittsburgh is best for both Justin and the Bears at this time,” Poles said in a statement. “…We spoke to Justin to explain the trade and the rationale behind it for us as a club.

“We want to thank him for his tireless dedication, leadership and contributions to our franchise and community over the past three years and wish him all the best for a long and successful NFL career.”

In a social media post Saturday, Fields thanked the Bears and the city of Chicago “for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a historic franchise.”

It would make a lot of sense for the Poles to be able to part ways with Fields, who was hired on good terms by GM Ryan Pace in 2021. If they had kept Fields and drafted Williams, this probably wouldn’t have happened.

Plus, the Poles want to put their new quarterback in the best position to succeed, and as they discussed at the combine, there are a lot of factors to consider.

“What does the infrastructure look like?” He said. “What’s around the player? I think that’s important.”

In Chicago, the Bears will draft around a rookie quarterback to have a roster that is ready to compete.

Recently acquired wide receiver Keenan Allen joins wide receiver DJ Moore as the only teammates in the NFL who had at least 90 receptions and 1,200 yards in 2023. The offensive line is improving after the Bears upgraded their backfield with D’Andre Swift, added Gerald Everett to the tight end room and added a projected starter at center in Coleman Shelton. Chicago’s young defense is loaded with talent from defensive end Montez Sweat to cornerback Jaylon Johnson and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

Establishing a clear role for their soon-to-be new QB1 marked a departure from the way the organization had operated in the past, such as when the team traded up to draft Fields, giving them two veteran quarterbacks – Sandwiched between Andy Dalton and Nick Foles. — who were not willing to hand over their job to a novice.

There will be no suspense about who will be the Bears’ starting quarterback after the first round of the draft on April 25. The only question is how much of an upgrade he’ll be on Fields.

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