It hasn’t exactly been a banner offseason for the Chicago Bears. Sure, they’ve made massive changes, swapping general managers and head coaches, but they’ve done very little to add talent to the roster around 2021 first-round pick Justin Fields.
Not only has he lost his No. 1 receiver, with Allen Robinson signing with the NFL’s defending Super Bowl champions, offensive guard James Daniels has also left town.
But it’s ok because after a 6-11 season, the Bears are in position to pick really high in the 2022 NFL Draft, selecting seventh overall, right?
Not so fast. Unfortunately, they had to trade up last year to select Fields. In doing so, the Bears parted with their 2022 first-round selection, meaning their first pick won’t come until pick No. 39.
Basically, the Bears can still add talent through the draft, but they’re unlikely to find that elite, immediately impactful rookie who can continue transforming this offense in the second round.
The general state of this roster has led several NFL insiders to suggest the Bears’ front office, led by GM Ryan Poles, is setting Fields up to fail in his first full season as a starter, under the guidance of Matt Eberflus.
Justin Fields in a bad position to start 2022 season?
As of now, the receivers at the top of the depth chart in Chicago are Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Byron Pringle. Their starting tight end is Cole Kmet. Not exactly a Pro Bowl roster.
If Fields couldn’t find chemistry and success with this corps plus Allen Robinson, who’s to say year two will suddenly be lightyears better? In fact, some might suggest the Bears know what they’re getting into, taking this approach on purpose in an effort to bounce back in a big way in 2023, or later.
One insider who suggests the Bears aren’t doing right by their 23-year-old QB is Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap.
This is a complete tear down,” Fitzgerald told The Athletic. “They sent away about $75 million in contracts this year, whether it was signings or trades or whatever it was. They just gutted the roster. You look at the types of players they brought in. It’s just low-cost, piece things together for a year.Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap speaking about Justin Fields to The Athletic
The thing is, Fitz isn’t the only one. Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated is of the same belief, that the Bears are expecting a lot out of Fields, yet are giving him very little to work with. It’s a situation that’s bound to be ugly.
“Fields is going to take snaps under center in 2022 surrounded by what is on paper one of the NFL’s worst rosters“.Conor Orr of Sports Illustrated
It appears as though the Bears are taking the approach that Matt Nagy was the one causing Fields to struggle. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen.
A case could be made that the top decision-makers realize they don’t have a roster capable of winning a Lombardi, thus going full-bore toward a tanking effort aimed at getting back to the table in 2023. Since the head coach and GM are in year one of their deals, chances are they won’t be fired from one bad season, this is why they’re attempting to get back at with top draft picks and cap space to begin the 2023 offseason. In other words, get ready for a long year of Bears football.
If the Bears find themselves in the same spot at the end of the 2022-23 season, no one will be able to say it was a surprise. It’s mostly due to the new regime putting very little effort toward helping the 11th pick of the last regime. Which, it wasn’t their draft pick, Fields wasn’t their QB of choice, maybe they couldn’t care less whether the guy succeeds under center. That looks to be the case so far.