The Chicago Bears are predicted to trade Justin Fields away this offseason after the much-hyped quarterback failed to live up to lofty expectations in year three. The Bears needed Fields to make progress in year three after the Bears spent the equivalence of two first-round picks on the offense.
The Bears added Darnell Wright in the draft. They also added D.J. Moore (instead of another first-round pick) via a trade with the Carolina Panthers. Even with an improved offensive line and wide receiver corps compared to last season, Fields has been unable to make the offense dynamic enough to make the Bears a playoff contender.
Not all of the blame can be placed on Fields. Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has not put Fields in the best position to succeed. The offensive line has missed key blocks and has been flagged for stupid penalties.
Receivers, like in the Mitch Trubisky years, have dropped easy passes. But like the criticism Bears fans gave Trubisky, Fields needed to rise above those drops by playing the quarterback position consistently enough. Fields didn’t do that in the same season the Bears will have the opportunity to draft Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in the offseason.
The Chicago Bears are predicted to trade Justin Fields
Bill Barnwell with ESPN predicted the Bears will trade Fields this offseason to make up for the pick they lost when trading for Montez Sweat. Barnwell is reporting that stats indicate Fields has regressed this season:
Fields isn’t surrounded by superstars, but after the Bears imported DJ Moore and invested in their offensive line, the hope was that he would take a leap. That hasn’t happened. There have been signs of growth and a few spectacular moments, but he has posted a 42.5 QBR, down from 56.3 a year ago. He’s averaging a career-low 6.7 yards per attempt and is taking sacks on more than 10% of his dropbacks. His offensive line still isn’t great, but even when he hasn’t been pressured, his 51.2 QBR ranks 26th among 29 qualifying passers.
The huge runs that made Fields a human highlight reel each week last season haven’t been back. He averaged a league-high (for quarterbacks) 76.2 rushing yards per game last season and had seven runs of 30 yards or more. No other quarterback had more than two such runs. This season, he is down to 48.8 rushing yards per game, in part because he doesn’t have a single run of 30-plus yards.”
Fields has regressed in several categories this season
Barnwell isn’t the only writer noticing Fields’ regression this season. Robert Schmitz with DaBearsBlog noted this week that Fields has been substantially worse in several key categories this season:
“Fields’ EPA/Play actually dropped between 2023 (-0.038, 23rd) & 2022 (0.032, 22nd) – Fields’ Success Rate dropped as well (2023: 40.9%, 29th. 2022: 45.3%, 23rd) – Fields ANY/A has risen slightly (5.06 vs 4.63) but still places him beneath Aiden O’Connell, Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder, and Jordan Love. All while his Sack Rate (10.6%) still sits at 2nd worst in the league.”
The conversation around the #Bears QB seems to imply that sticking with Fields is less risky than starting over at QB — I disagree.
I think both options are, at best, equally risky.
I’ve covered Fields for his entire Chicago tenure. His ceiling is crazy high, and at times he'll…
— Robert Schmitz (@robertkschmitz) December 20, 2023
Fields has three games to change those numbers for the better. But at this point, he’s just putting up tape for his next team.
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