Skip to main content

NFL exec offers strong criticism of Chicago Bears for Justin Fields trade

Chicago Bears news, Justin Fields trade
Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears went into the offseason hoping to receive a very strong return in a Justin Fields trade, providing them with the level of draft-pick compensation that could immediately help them build around Caleb Williams. Instead, the Bears’ front office admitted it didn’t take the best offer for the young quarterback.

While Chicago publicly indicated at the start of the offseason that it was very open to retaining Fields as the starting quarterback, everyone around the NFL knew that was just posturing. The Bears were attempting to maximize their leverage, hoping to generate a bidding war between multiple teams.

  • Justin Fields stats 2023 (ESPN): 86.3 QB rating, 61.4 percent completion rate, 16-9 TD-INT, 2,562 passing yards, 657 rushing yards, 5.3 yards per carry, 4 rushing touchdowns in 13 games

Related: Chicago Bears mock draft 2024

Instead, Chicago watched as every quarterback-needy team filled its vacancy at the position. Within weeks, the plan of trading Fields for at least a second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft turned into a thin market. The former 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft was eventually traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

While the Bears’ front office made it clear that it traded Fields to Pirrsburgh to accommodate his wishes, even though the Steelers didn’t make the strongest offer, some around the NFL believe Chicago made a series of mistakes in its handling of the situation.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order, picks by team

Speaking to The Athletic’s Mike Sando, one NFL executive suggests the Bears “almost got bullied” in their handling of Fields trade talks and might’ve originally set the asking price far too high. The executive also believed the Bears then made it worse by trading Fields, instead of holding him until a new team became desperate for a quarterback.

“They almost got bullied or gave up. Their asking price was probably too high initially, and then when they realized the seats got filled, they had to lower their ask. I don’t understand why you would make that trade because if somebody has an injury or doesn’t get the quarterback they thought they were going to get, the ask will be higher.”

Anonymous NFL executive on the Chicago Bears handling of Justin Fields

Related: 2024 NFL Draft prospect rankings

Theoretically, the Bears could’ve kept Fields after drafting Williams with the first overall pick. However, that would’ve put both young quarterbacks in an uncomfortable situation. Chicago would’ve been stuck with that for months, potentially waiting for a starter to go down with an injury in training camp or the regular season.

Despite things not working out for either side, the Bears wanted to do right by Fields after facing criticism for years of failing to build a quality team around him. There remains a fair criticism of the franchise for mishandling the situation initially and setting its asking price too high in trade talks, but the end result was an organization trying to do right by its former starting quarterback.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft wide receiver rankings

Mentioned in this article:

More About: