Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields traded to Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional draft pick

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields
Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears have traded quartebrack Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers, finally finding a home for the former first-round pick after shopping him throughout the NFL offseason.

While Chicago suggested publicly that it could keep Fields and trade the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Fraft order, teams around the league knew a decision had already been made. The Bears will select USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams with the first overall pick, making Fields expendable.

  • Justin Fields stats 2023: 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

While Chicago hoped to trade Fields quickly, he was the last player left standing in the NFL quarterback carousel. The Steelers (Russell Wilson), Las Vegas Raiders (Gardner Minshew) and Atlanta Falcons (Kirk Cousins) already found their likely starting quarterbacks for 2024. With the New England Patriots, Minnesota Vikings and Washington Commanders targeting quarterbacks in the NFL Draft, there were very few options left for Fields.

Related: Best moves in NFL free agency, including Pittsburgh Steelers’ addition

Just days after New England traded fellow 2021 first-round quarterback Mac Jones to the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-round pick, Fields is headed to Pittsburgh in exchange for a conditional sixth-round selection next year.

Justin Fields trade details

  • Pittsburgh Steelers receive: Justin Fields
  • Chicago Bears receive: 2025 conditional sixth-round pick (can become a fourth)

A source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network that despite the trade for Fields, Russell Wilson will be the Steelers’ starting quarterback in 2024. However, Fields will be making more than Pittsburgh’s starter, pulling in $3.233 million compared to Wilson’s $1.21 million salary.

Related: NFL QB rankings 2024

For Pittsburgh, the decision was a no-brainer for a franchise that wanted to overhaul its quarterback room this offseason. The Steelers traded former first-round pick Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday in a swap of 2024 picks. It also cut ties with Mason Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky.

Previous reporting indicated the Bears wouldn’t make a final decision on Fields until they were certain Williams would be the first overall pick. While that was widely viewed as damage control following failed efforts to trade Fields for a second-round pick, this deal is further confirmation that Williams will be the first overall pick in April.

While Fields will open the 2024 season as the Steelers’ backup quarterback, there could be an opportunity for him down the line. Because Wilson is only owed the veteran’s minimum salary in 2024, Pittsburgh’s coaching staff has no financial burden to keep him in the lineup if he’s struggling.

What are the conditions in the Justin Fields trade?

The Bears specifically targeted a future pick from Pittsburgh to tie in incentives based on Fields’ playing time next season in Pittsburgh. Similar to recent trades in previous offseasons, what round the pick will be in is tied to snaps played.

According to Brad Briggs, the Bears will receive the Steelers’ fourth-round pick in 2025 if Fields plays 51 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2024. If he finishes under that, it will remain a sixth-round pick.

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