Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles said Tuesday that the plan “right now” is for Justin Fields to be the team’s starting quarterback in 2023.
Poles made the comments from the NFL Scouting Combine, one day after reports surfaced that the Bears would shop the No. 1 overall pick this week. But Poles added that he needs to remain faithful to the process of looking at every draft option – including the QBs.
“I think that’s always been the case, we’ve always leaned that way,” Poles said Tuesday about shopping the No. 1 pick. “Because Justin did some really nice things and I’m really excited about where his game is going to go.
“But at the same time, when you sit in our situation, No. 1 overall, you have to do your due diligence. You have to investigate everything. You have to spend time with those guys, just to make sure we’re making the right decision,” he added.
Poles was asked directly if Fields would be the Bears’ starter next season.
“That’s the plan right now. We’re going to do our homework on this class,” Poles said.
Head coach Matt Eberflus said the Bears are still evaluating “everything” but praised Fields’ play last season and his drive to improve.
“All options are open,” Eberflus said. “Right now we leave everything open, and look at all options.”
Eberflus said Fields is focused on improving as a passer.
“The big thing we’ve talked about with him — let’s just take what the defensive gives you, and then move on,” Eberflus said Tuesday.
Playing it cagey allows Poles to potentially drive up the price on trading out of the top pick. And suitors are lining up.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud are expected targets of the Indianapolis Colts, who would like to move up from No. 4 to avoid losing out on an elite passer. The Houston Texans own the No. 2 pick and are also in the QB market, as are a number of teams with selections in the top 10 who could be willing trade matches when Poles begins comparing offers.
Poles said “starter conversations” have taken place.
“Nothing specific about players, picks and all that. It’s just interest,” he said.
–Field Level Media