The Bears and quarterback Justin Fields are off to an 0-2 start, with Fields in particular struggling early. The third-year QB has completed 60.6% of his passes this season for 427 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. His QBR of 22.2 is ranked 31st out of 32 starting quarterbacks heading into Week 3.
But it’s still possible for the Bears to turn it around, and the NFC North is wide open, with two teams 1-1 and another, like the Bears, 0-2. Tansey suggested that a player with Boyd’s skill set could help Fields by adding another reliable target alongside DJ Moore while relegating Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool to diminished roles, respectively.
“Tyler Boyd is in the last year of his contract with the Cincinnati Bengals and he probably will not return to the AFC North side because it can’t pay everyone in its offense,” Tansey wrote on September 20. “Boyd would be a solid complement to Moore in the passing game, and that would relegate Mooney and Claypool into No. 3 and No. 4 roles that they might be more comfortable in.”
Bengals’ Tyler Boyd Is a Solid Slot WR
Boyd, 28, is in his eighth season. A second-round pick for the Bengals out of Pitt in 2016, the 6-foot-2, 203-pound receiver has been as durable as they come, playing in at least 15 regular season games in every season other than in 2017, when he played 10 games. Predominantly playing in the slot, where he has over 3,000 career snaps, Boyd is versatile enough to line up out wide.
He had back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns in 2018-2019, and he has also been productive in recent years. Last year, in 16 games (14 starts), Boyd caught 58 passes for 762 yards (13.1 yards per catch) and five touchdowns. The season prior, in 2021, he hauled in 67 passes for 828 yards (12.4 yards per catch) and five TDs.
Boyd has a base salary of $8.45 million this season, and a cap hit just over $10 million, so he’d be an affordable add. “The cost of a potential Boyd trade would be low because of his contract status, and it would at least allow the Bears to make a run at a wild card position if Fields improves with two reliable targets on the field,” Tansey wrote.
Playoff Hopes Seem Distant From Bears at This Point
While there’s little doubt Boyd could help Fields — because he’s more sure-handed than any receiver in Chicago other than Moore — the Bears already have done a ton when it comes to giving Fields what he needs to succeed. Fields has also been sacked 10 times in two games, so he needs to get rid of the ball in a more expedient fashion. Adding another receiver won’t fix that problem.
Bears general manager Ryan Poles traded the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft in exchange for a top WR in Moore, and the Bears selected offensive lineman Darnell Wright at No. 10 overall to help protect Fields. The Bears also added OL Nate Davis in free agency.
For his part, when Fields spoke with the media on September 20, he mentioned wanting to play more free and instinctively, which is something the team seems amenable to.
“I think that a player needs to feel free, he needs to have the flow of the game, he needs to use his instincts. That’s what you want from players,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said on September 20. “I think he wants to be able to let it flow, let it go, let him be himself and play free. … I think that’s where he’s at right now. And that’s what we want. We want him to do that.”
With the Kansas City Chiefs waiting for them Week 3, the Bears and Fields had better figure things out fast.