Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields reportedly underperformed against the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Eve–at least compared to his quarterback peers this season.
Fields has two more games to impress general manager Ryan Poles and, let’s face it, President Kevin Warren before the Bears have to decide whether to keep Fields for 2024 or trade him. With the Carolina Panthers losing Sunday and the New England Patriots winning, the Bears will likely select at either number one or two in the 2024 NFL Draft.
The Chicago Bears saw Fields underperform in Week 16
Fields has improved in a few categories this season, but several stats show Fields has regressed in his third year in the league. Adam Jahns with The Athletic wrote about where the Bears are leaning on Fields following their win over the Cardinals. Jahns noted an eye-opening stat on Fields’ play against a terrible Cardinals defense compared to other NFL quarterbacks this season.
“To use Poles’ phrasing again, has Fields “blown away” Poles, assistant GM Ian Cunningham and others in the scouting department with his play this season?
The fairest answer is that maybe only in glimpses. You saw that again Sunday in the Bears’ 27-16 win against the Arizona Cardinals, who have one of the worst defenses in the league. Fields followed up a 39-yard scramble right through would-be tacklers by throwing an interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter. It didn’t help that Moore and tight end Cole Kmet were injured, but Fields finished with a 71.5 passer rating against a defense that was allowing an average of 103.8, the second-worst mark in the league entering the week.”
Fields’ passer rating was over 30 points worse than the average NFL quarterback against the Cardinals this season. Fields’ stats as a passer were rather unremarkable Sunday. He finished 15/27 for just 170 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Fields gained 53 yards of that 170 on a pass where he underthrew a tight end, Cole Kmet, on a play where he had ample time in the pocket and then moved around to buy more time.
Even in wins, Fields isn’t making a case for the Bears to risk keeping him over Caleb Williams or Drake Maye, who would be a cheaper option at quarterback for the next five seasons. A new coaching staff would undoubtedly want that over a murky future with Fields.
Even if they were to let him play out his rookie contract there is no guarantee he’d play good enough next season to earn an extension with a third offensive coordinator in four seasons.
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