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The Glen Echo

Since 1956

The Glen Echo

Since 1956

The Glen Echo

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Quarterback Controversy: Why the Bears should draft a QB and trade Justin Fields

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The Chicago Bears are officially on the clock. Thanks to last year’s trade with the Carolina Panthers, Chicago owns the right to the first overall pick in the NFL draft. For most teams with the top pick, the decision is a no-brainer: take the best player available, which would be USC’s standout quarterback, Caleb Williams. However, the play of quarterback Justin Fields has made Chicago’s decision a little bit more complicated.

Fields, who has been the Bears’ starting quarterback since he was drafted in 2021, is a polarizing player who showed flashes of brilliance in the back half of this season. However, questions surround his ability to become a solid pocket passer and break down a defense. This begs the question: should the Bears stick with Fields and trade the first overall pick? Or would it be better to draft Williams and start fresh? To me, the answer is clear: the Fields era should be over. It’s time to draft a new QB.

Let’s start with Williams: he’d be an excellent pick because of his arm strength and his ability to make plays both inside and outside of the pocket. He’s frequently at his best when plays break down and he gets to improvise behind the line of scrimmage. Critics point to his cockiness as a reason to stay away, but his talent can’t be denied. Any NFL team would be lucky to have him.

Conversely, Fields has been playing well, but not well enough to pass on a player like Williams. Sometimes he turns in a dominant performance but tends to fold in high-pressure situations. This was highlighted in Fields’ three-game stretch to end the season, where he turned in two solid performances against the Cardinals and Falcons, but followed it up with a 148-yard, 0-touchdown, 9-point stat line in the season finale against the Packers.

Williams would likely be on the same quarterbacking level as Fields from Day 1, with the potential to be significantly better as he grows and develops.

Drafting Caleb Williams would also give the Bears a massive spending advantage. Usually, a young starting quarterback on a rookie contract is extremely valuable for teams trying to stay under the salary cap. Fields’ second contract would likely cost around $40 million after his fifth-year option, whereas Williams’ rookie contract would only be around $10 million.

This allows teams to take that money and spend it upgrading other positions. Think of teams like the Bengals in 2021, who took advantage of Joe Burrow’s rookie contract, spent lots of money to upgrade the team around him, and ended up in the Super Bowl. This financial flexibility would allow Chicago to upgrade much-needed positions like wide receiver or offensive line.

Sure, Fields might be fun to watch. Sure, the fans might want him to stay. But it’s crunch time for the Bears. This is a franchise-altering decision, and it’s not every day you get the chance to draft what might be your QB for the next decade. This is the Bears’ golden opportunity to draft the generational passing prospect they’ve been searching for since they became a franchise. They can’t let it slip.

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Ethan Diamond, Staff Writer

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