Why the Bears trading Justin Fields would make absolutely no sense

Once the Chicago Bears secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft, thanks to a dramatic comeback win by the Houston Texans in the last week of the regular season, it didn’t take long for speculation to swirl.

Now that the Bears had the top spot, would they use it on a quarterback, and ship Justin Fields elsewhere?

Let’s talk about why that’s a ridiculous idea:

Who started it?

Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

First of all, where is this coming from in the first place?

Well, outside of fans or analysts trying to connect dots for some juicy hypothetical that just makes for good TV, we have some comments from Bears general manager Ryan Poles, who clearly left the door open for just about everything Tuesday (via Fox Sports’ Carmen Vitali):

That definitely sounds like a decision-maker who hasn’t made a firm decision when it comes to who his starting quarterback will be next year.

But Poles ain’t no dummy. He knows exactly what he’s doing.

Lying Season

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Since it’s officially draft season for more than half the league, it’s also that time of year where you can’t believe anything you hear from owners, coaches, general managers, and anyone else involved with making personnel decisions for any club.

Anytime something is said publicly by any of those decision-makers, there’s a massive chance that it’s a highly calculated statement meant to further the agenda of getting them what they want.

When I hear those words from Poles, all I see if a smart GM who knows he has nothing to gain from showing his cards right now, and everything to gain from doing whatever he can to increase the leverage he has at the top of the draft.

If Poles can convince other QB-needy teams, ones that might be willing to trade up with them, that he might be perfectly content staying at No. 1 and not even taking a defensive player, but perhaps the quarterback they desperately want.

There’s absolutely no reason for Poles to do anything other than keep 31 other teams wondering what his plans are. If what he says publicly can increase the price tag for a trade, even just a little bit, it’s worth letting everyone wonder whether or not he’d be willing to trade Fields and take his replacement at the top of this draft.

Why start over?

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The hardest thing to do in the NFL is find a true difference-maker at the game’s most important position.

The Bears already have that guy in Fields.

Does he need to improve his consistency as a passer? Absolutely.

Is he already doing things that few, if any, players in NFL history have ever done? You bet.

Fields is a dynamic, explosive playmaker who challenges opposing defenses in rare and unique ways. He’s got all the physical and mental tools to be a superstar, and those guys don’t come around often.

Some of his struggles as a passer can also be traced to his lackluster supporting cast. Having an offensive line you can’t trust can lead to poor mechanics, and lead to bad habits and decisions a young quarterback wouldn’t otherwise make if he had a clean pocket to work from even half of the time. Injuries decimated his already-weak receiver group, too.

The Bears have a ton of needs to fill this offseason. Quarterback isn’t one of them, and that’s a rare blessing.

Fields has two years of seeing the NFL game, just over a full season of starting experience, and he’ll have an increased comfort level in the offense next year. Why restart that clock with a rookie passer who is unlikely to bring some of Fields’ rare traits to the table?

A King's Ransom

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Landing the No. 1 pick at the buzzer was a huge win for the Bears precisely because they already have their franchise quarterback.

With the Texans (who desperately need one of their own) now at No. 2, other QB-needy teams know that if they want their pick of this year’s top passers, they’ll have to get ahead of Houston. That means doing business with Chicago at No. 1.

This is the perfect scenario for the Bears, who have tons of glaring needs. They need to rebuild the trenches, and find more playmakers, on both sides of the ball. This is an ideal opportunity for Chicago to command a massive haul in a trade from another team targeting a quarterback.

Consider a team like the Indianapolis Colts, who are currently sitting at No. 4 overall. They need a quarterback, and if they fall in love with Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud, they won’t want their guy falling to the division-rival Texans No. 2. No, they’ll want to get their guy, instead of facing him twice a year.

Poles will know that full well, and use that leverage to squeeze a huge deal out of Indy. They could get multiple first-round picks, and likely more, just to move down three spots.

The best part for the Bears? If they make that deal, quarterbacks likely go at each of the first two picks, to the Colts and Texans. That leaves just one other team ahead of them on the board, the Arizona Cardinals, with both of this year’s elite defensive prospects still on the board. If Arizona takes Alabama edge defender Will Anderson, the Bears can happily take Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter, or vice versa. The Bears will have moved down, gained more premium draft capital, and still gotten one of the players they would have taken at No. 1 either way.

It’s not that Fields wouldn’t command a hefty trade haul in his own right, but would he fetch as much as the No. 1 overall pick would, especially to a QB-desperate team trying to poach their favorite prospect away from a division rival? Wouldn’t the Bears rather have Fields, Anderson or Carter, and all of those extra picks, instead of starting over with Young or Stroud, not getting Anderson or Carter, and having fewer additional resources to show for a trade?

The Bottom Line

Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Fields still has two more years and an additional fifth-year option left on his rookie contract. The Bears could move down a few spots, load up on more premium draft picks, still get one of the best players in the draft who fills one of their biggest needs, and build a supporting cast around Fields that will allow him to maximize his rare talent.

The Bears are also projected to have more than $100 million in salary cap space to spend this offseason, too. That’s more than enough to rebuild the offensive line, and give the roster the jolt is needs on both sides of the ball.

Too many NFL teams overthink the quarterback spot all the time. I’m betting Poles won’t make that mistake here. He’s already got his guy at QB. He needs everything else, and trading that No. 1 overall pick will help him get it.

The idea of trading Fields is nothing more than the first massive plume of smokescreen season.

Story originally appeared on Draft Wire