Can you imagine what an NFL player transfer portal would look like?
Orr goes on to lay out his reasoning for Fields (and any other player who doesn’t want to go through the pains of an NFL team rebuilding) requesting a trade because it hinders his progress being put “in an impossible situation to succeed” heading into his season year with the Bears.
He (Fields), or Trevor Lawrence, or any rookie quarterback who arrives in the NFL and sees a brushfire of chaos in his facility shouldn’t be scared to demand a trade. Many of their situations become too late before they realize it. However, the more we come to grips with the reality of roster teardowns, the more use we might have for some kind of formal process, like a waiver or transfer portal. Fields, or any player in a less-than-ideal situation, should be given the chance to work with the NFLPA to request a different assignment. This would force teams to maintain more of a consistent competitive spirit, or, at the very least, be more open with their fan base about the path forward and offer promising players some sort of back-end protection.
Let’s get something straight, no one enjoys losing. Players get irritated, fans grow restless, hope starts to become lost — it’s all depressing.
Such an outlandish idea to allow players to come and go from rosters as they please because of losing however, is a whole new level of bad idea. If you’re going to allow players, especially younger ones, the option to pack their bags and head elsewhere because they aren’t happy, you might as well allow them to submit a “do not draft me” list to teams prior to the NFL Draft. Why go through the hope that a promising, young player can help turn the team around if they don’t want to go through the struggles? Does that sound feasible, let alone smart? Absolutely not.
Orr discusses how other teams with young quarterbacks around the league have made a valiant effort to rebuild their rosters to benefit their budding stars. The Bears on the other hand? They’ve done no such thing. The SI writer does admit this isn’t Ryan Poles’ fault – the blame lies with his predecessor Ryan Pace, to which we’ll give him credit for pointing out. That’s about where the credit ends.
Heading into the 2022 offseason, the Bears had $28.6 million dollars in cap space with significant holes across the roster. Like a smart GM, Poles sent Eddie Goldman, Tarik Cohen and Danny Trevathan to create more than $15 million in cap space. While a controversial move in the eyes of Bears’ fans, he then dealt Khalil Mack and his $30 million cap hit, putting the Bears well over $125 million in cap space for the 2023 offseason. The Bears’ 2022 draft picks will take up $6 million against the cap when it’s all said and done with plenty of work to still be carried out in filling the rest of the roster. Poles ultimately had no choice but to build with the future in mind instead of continuously kicking the can down the road like Pace had been doing for years.
New head coach Matt Eberflus stated very clearly that the Bears are Fields’ team and they will continue to build around the promising quarterback. Such conviction has been said multiple times since Poles and Eberflus got to Halas Hall. When Orr says Fields should be asking “what the Bears are going to do for me once they have the players, the cap space and the roster constructed how they envision?”, the answer is simple: they’re going to compete and they’re going to win.
Things could easily go south for the Bears’ rebuild, but this idea of a portal doesn’t “force teams to develop, or empower players to develop themselves and take away the internal politics that derail promising careers” like Orr suggests. Instead, it creates an unnecessary escape rope for players who don’t want to face adversity – something nearly every NFL pro will face in their careers.
Even Orr knows there was “back-end scheming, coach hiring, coach firing, player cutting and trading” that benefited all the greats like Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger to help them grow. With the reset button hit at Halas Hall, there is a plan to get the Bears back to being a contender. Fields deserves the chance to see that plan through instead of dreaming about a Wish.com version of the collegiate transfer portal.
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