Eddie Jackson never believed Bears would trade Justin FIelds

Trade Fields?! Jackson knew Bears would stick with QB originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

DES PLAINES, Ill. -- Eddie Jackson heard the persistent offseason chatter surrounding the future of quarterback Justin Fields with the Bears. The trade chatter was constant as general manager Ryan Poles worked to create leverage in order to drive up the price for the No. 1 overall pick.

But Jackson never thought for a second that the Bears would trade the 24-year-old quarterback.

"No! What?!" Jackson said, laughing, during a media availability Tuesday before receiving the 2022 Ed Block Courage Award. "No. Never."

Poles' smokescreen worked to perfection. Several teams struck up trade conversations with the Bears at the NFL Scouting Combine, hoping to move up to No. 1 to draft Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud, or Anthony Richardson. All of that led to Friday when Poles sent the pick to the Carolina Panthers for the No. 9 pick, No. 61, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2025 second-round pick, and wide receiver D.J. Moore.

The Bears were pleased with Fields' growth in 2022 under less-than-ideal circumstances. Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus believe the young signal-caller will blossom with more talent around him in 2023.

Jackson has never had any doubt about what Fields will become in Chicago.

"I have a lot of confidence [in the direction of the franchise]," Jackson said. "We all know what type of player Justin is. There was never a doubt in our minds, especially mine. The things he's capable of, and just to see him take those steps year-by-year. I'm excited to see what this year has for him. We surrounded him with some good weapons and I feel like he's going to have some tremendous success."

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Acquiring Moore from the Panthers was only the start of Poles' quest to rebuild the Bears from the ground up.

On Monday, the Bears agreed to contracts with linebackers T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds, guard Nate Davis, and defensive end DeMarcus Walker.

Those additions bring a smile to Jackson's face after a 2022 season where the Bears' defense struggled to put up resistance against the run or the pass.

“Just seeing them play, I know they’re great players,” Jackson said. “Just the things they did for their teams, I’ve heard some pretty good stuff about them off the field, with leadership roles and the type of guys they are. The type of characteristics I feel like fit best with us in our locker room.

“It’s a good feeling to see the types of players they’re bringing in.”

As of Tuesday, the Bears still have $44 million in cap space and a lot of holes to fill. The rebuilding has begun, with Fields and Jackson among those seen as central to Poles' plan.

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