NFL Rumors: Bears believed to have decided what to do with Justin Fields, No. 1 pick

The Chicago Bears face a quarterback dilemma heading into the 2024 NFL Draft: Do they keep incumbent starter Justin Fields or draft USC quarterback Caleb Williams? The team has reportedly made its decision.

NFL Combine - Portraits
NFL Combine - Portraits / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

The 2024 NFL Scouting Combine is a place of gossip and chatter. Every year, secrets spill out to the media as whispering general managers, coaches, and agents congregate at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The most captivating storyline of this offseason has been the mystery surrounding the Chicago Bears' plans at quarterback. The Bears currently hold the No. 1 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, and they once again face a quarterback conundrum. They can either keep incumbent quarterback Justin Fields and trade the coveted pick, or they can trade Fields and use the draft pick on USC quarterback Caleb Williams.

Bears will select Caleb Williams in 2024 NFL Draft, trade Justin Fields

Multiple sources have indicated that the Bears "appear focused" on selecting USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick, according to The Athletic's Dianna Russini. As for Fields, the Bears are are believed to be attempting to move on from the 2021 first-round pick.

Chicago's executives spent most of the week gauging trade interest for Fields with hopes of trading him before the start of free agency on March 13. Russini reported that the trade market for Fields has been "soft for now" and the Bears struggled to "find strong interest from any team."

The Bears faced this same dilemma when they held the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Just one year ago, Chicago had the option to keep Fields and trade the coveted draft pick, or trade Fields and select quarterback Bryce Young, who was being touted as the Steph Curry of football. At the time, the Bears elected to keep Fields and traded the draft pick to the Carolina Panthers, which ultimately led them to the position they're in now.

There are other dynamics at play this time around, however. In the NFL, the answer to the biggest mysteries can often be found by looking at the money. Fields is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and his projected market value is a six-year contract worth up to $283.1 million, per Spotrac. That would be a lot to invest in a quarterback who has only won 10 games in his 38 career starts.

Also, Bryce Young was not nearly as enticing of a prospect as Caleb Williams is.

Few quarterback prospects are touted as highly as Williams. The 22-year-old USC quarterback is seemingly a once-in-a-generation talent, and he has captivated every scout and fan in the nation. During his two seasons at USC, Williams showed the ability to throw from anywhere on the field, at any time, using an array of arm slots — sidearm flicks, underhand shovels, and overhead spirals. Plotted together, the locations of his throws in the course of a game can look like an unfinished paint-by-numbers, scattered from sideline to sideline. The quarterback has drawn comparisons to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and even future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.

On the other hand, Fields often appeared to be on the brink of a breakthrough during his tumultuous three years in the league. The beloved Chicago quarterback has sporadically displayed athletic talent and playmaking abilities, but his flaws have been glaring. The staunchest supporters of Fields will point to a plethora of reasons for the quarterback's failures. Still, the Bears spent last offseason upgrading their entire offense, but Fields' struggles persisted. He continues to hold onto the ball too long, he doesn't process the field quickly and he often fails to deliver the ball on time.

Chicago has seen its fair share of struggles in the Super Bowl era. Aside from one Super Bowl win shouldered by Buddy Ryan's legendary 4-6 defense in 1985, the Bears have rarely sniffed postseason success, and there's a simple reason why. Chicago has not seen quarterback stability since Sid Luckman helped George Halas revolutionize the forward pass in the 1940s.

The Bears have spent plenty of first-round picks hoping to strike gold on the next great NFL quarterback. Fields is the latest in a line of failed experiments that last featured Mitch Trubisky, who Chicago drafted ahead of quarterbacks Mahomes and Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Hopefully, the Bears will finally get it right and find their next franchise quarterback.

Caleb Williams received the most shocking draft comp yet, but it actually tracks. Caleb Williams received the most shocking draft comp yet, but it actually tracks. dark. Next