With Justin Fields, the Steelers could eventually do what the Bears didn't

The Bears didn't exercise patience with the Justin Fields situation. His new team, in theory, could.

After giving up a sixth-round pick in 2025 (which will bump to a fourth-round pick if he takes 51 percent of the offensive snaps this year), the Steelers could re-trade Fields if/when an opportunity to do so arises.

Much of it will depend on who else the Steelers add at the quarterback position. For now, they have only two on the depth chart. If they add another one, either through free agency or the draft, and if they have a fourth quarterback on the practice squad, there's no reason to think the Steelers wouldn't consider moving Fields if: (1) Russell Wilson is the starter; (2) a starter gets injured elsewhere; and (3) that team offers more than what the Steelers gave up.

The Steelers did that in 2019, trading Josh Dobbs to the Jaguars after they lost Nick Foles in Week 1. Of course, the Steelers then needed him a week later, when Ben Roethlisberger was lost for the year to an elbow injury.

The question of whether the Steelers would re-trade Fields also depends on whether and to what extent they're using him. Even if he's not starting, he might be playing, in specialty packages at quarterback or at other positions. If it's working, there's no reason to trade him away.

Ultimately, if he leaves as a free agent after 2024, the Steelers would potentially get a compensatory draft pick in 2026 — balancing out the sixth-round pick in 2025 that they gave up for him.

However it plays out, the Steelers seemingly will get a lot more out of Fields than what a 2025 sixth-rounder could be expected to do, regardless of whether he plays periodically, becomes the starter, and/or gets traded to a team that develops a clear need at the position once the season starts.