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Kenny Pickett trade could give Bears lifeline in search for Justin Fields trade partner

One potential landing spot for Bears quarterback Justin Fields closed Friday, but another one opened.

After officially signing Russell Wilson to a one-year contract, the Pittsburgh Steelers traded quarterback Kenny Pickett to the Philadelphia Eagles for a draft pick swap.

Pickett heads to Philadelphia to be Jalen Hurts’ backup. He fills a spot many viewed as the best remaining spot for Fields should the Bears stick with the presumed plan to draft Caleb Williams with the No. 1 overall pick and move on from Fields.

The Bears haven’t been shopping Fields but have been open to fielding calls on the 25-year-old starting quarterback. They haven’t received much interest, and the start of free agency closed a number of spots that seemed like ideal spots for Fields to get a fresh start.

With most of the starting jobs filled and the remaining ones likely headed to rookies, the Eagles seemed like a good spot for Fields to land, given Hurts’ skill set and the hits he’s prone to taking.

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The Pickett trade takes the Eagles off the board for Fields but opens up the backup spot in Pittsburgh behind Wilson.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the Steelers gave Wilson assurances he would be the Day 1 starter and would not face competition, so this would be a pure backup role for Fields.

But it’s a backup job that could yield starting opportunities, given how poorly Wilson has paid over the past seasons. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is a fan of Fields, and Pittsburgh was initially thought to be an ideal spot for Fields before the Steelers opted to sign Wilson.

New Steelers offensive coordinator Arthur Smith isn’t believed to be high on Fields. Smith had a chance to draft Fields when he was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons but chose to select tight end Kyle Pitts at No. 4 overall after his desired target Trey Lance was taken at No. 3. Steelers general manager Omar Khan said that Smith would play a big role in the quarterback decisions, so he looms as a potential roadblock to a Fields trade.

The Bears need a team with a backup quarterback spot to take Fields. The Steelers need a backup behind Wilson, who is on a one-year deal, and a potential long-term solution.

Fields can be that for them.

When the Bears’ prospects of trading Fields were starting to look dim, a new door opened—one that always seemed like the proper fit.

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