Perry: Why Pats should consider trading for Justin Fields

Perry: Why Pats should consider trading for Justin Fields originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

With the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots are in a prime position to find their next franchise quarterback. But what if they aren't sold on any of the top QBs in the class?

USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye, and LSU's Jayden Daniels are widely expected to be the top three quarterbacks off the board. Whoever falls to the Patriots at No. 3 will be tough to pass on considering the state of the QB position in New England. However, there's a strong argument to be made for Ohio State wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr.

If the Patriots aren't willing to commit to one of those three QBs, they could go in a different direction with the No. 3 pick and find their next signal-caller via trade. One intriguing option for that scenario is a deal with the Chicago Bears for Justin Fields.

On Wednesday's Arbella Early Edition, our Phil Perry made the case for the Patriots to trade for Fields if they pass on a QB with the third overall selection. Perry suggests that parting ways with a third-round draft pick could get the deal done.

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"I like the idea if you don't love the idea of one of those three quarterbacks," Perry said. "If you aren't completely sold that one of those three guys, whoever falls to you at three, isn't a face of the franchise type of player, then don't draft him. You have to love the player. Do not force it at the top of the draft. Get a premium player at a premium position that's not quarterback if you don't love that guy.

"And I should just make it very clear here too: You could potentially have Fields for two years. If you acquire him soon enough, you could even potentially pick up his fifth-year option. Now, that's a lot of money. You're talking maybe $25-ish million for a guy who's been very up and down over the course of his career. It's an option, is all I'm saying. I don't hate it. Third-round pick, you're sort of rolling the dice at that point in the draft anyway, for a guy who has real upside at the most important position in the sport.

The Bears selected Fields with the 11th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft -- four picks ahead of the Patriots' selection of fellow QB Mac Jones. The former Ohio State standout went 5-8 as Chicago's starter in 2023, completing 61.4 percent of his passes for 2,562 yards and 16 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He also rushed for 657 yards and four TDs.

WEEI's Andy Hart isn't as enthused as Perry about the idea of the Pats trading for Fields.

"I think Justin Fields would be more fun and yes, he could probably do better with pressure and moving around because that's part of his game," Hart said. "I think you're spinning your wheels at the quarterback position. I think there's a reason the Bears are looking to move on from him.

"If I don't love number three, I would just be trading down and looking to trade out of that spot, find somebody who does love Jayden Daniels and maximize that opportunity and kick that can down the road a little bit and then, yeah, maybe you have to figure some things out at quarterback. But to what end would you be bringing Justin Fields in, other than to sell some jerseys and have some fun in some practices and games? Like, I think he can be entertaining. I don't think it necessarily puts you any closer to a Super Bowl or being rebuilt and ready to challenge."

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Perry noted that Fields, much like Jones in New England, hasn't been set up to succeed in Chicago. The difference between Fields and Jones is that Fields is trending upward.

"I still think he has some developmental potential," Perry said. "He has not been surrounded by a lick in Chicago. Offensive line, weapons, coaching staff, it's been a disaster. Almost as bad as it's been here. For all the excuses we make for Mac Jones, you could make the same exact excuses for Justin Fields. He's a great athlete with a real live arm and if you feel like there's something there, he is trending in the right direction whereas the fourth-year quarterback you have here is not.

"If you're getting Justin Fields, you're talking about maybe getting a great receiver, a tackle, and the quarterback whereas some of those other scenarios you're using valuable capital."

The Patriots have plenty of time to ponder how they'll proceed with the No. 3 pick. The 2024 NFL Draft is scheduled to begin on April 25.