Something seems a bit different of late for Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. In the last two games, Fields has completed 34-of-51 passes (67%) for 274 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. The young quarterback has also rushed 23 times for 238 yards and two touchdowns.
That’s seven touchdowns and no turnovers in two games, and Heavy NFL insider Matt Lombardo does not think it’s a fluke. “It seems like [Bears offensive coordinator] Luke Getsy is finally building his offensive playbook and his offensive game plan around Justin Fields’ strengths, unlike other coaching staffs that you see around the league who just try to drop their players into their scheme,” Lombardo said during his weekly podcast, The Matt Lombardo Show.
Lombardo believes letting Fields scramble and freelance more has been key to his improvement. One NFC scout told Lombardo, “The combination of letting him run the football, and his familiarity with the new playbook, has been a really potent one.”
Fields’ 178 rushing yards set the NFL record for rushing yards in a regular season game by a quarterback, topping Michael Vick’s 173 in 2002, according to StatHead.
Bears Poised to Contend Next Year
Lombardo took it a step farther than just praising Fields’ success on the field of late. The insider believes the Bears are set up to have a monster offseason and catapult themselves into the upper tier of NFL teams, while becoming the toughest competition in the division for the Minnesota Vikings.
“Think about this; they have nine draft picks coming up in 2023,” Lombardo said during his podcast. “That’s before making any other trades this off season to move up in round one or cast off some other veterans for additional draft picks. Nine draft picks. The Bears have $123 million dollars in cap space, no one else in the NFL has more than $70 million. Think about that.”
That leaves the Bears with a lot of maneuverability as they try to improve their roster and jump from the pack to the upper echelon of the NFL heading into next season. They’ll have options available, with an abundance of draft capital and cap space. That means they can be players in the trade market, the draft, and free agency.
Bears Positioned to Add Key Pieces in Free Agency
Lombardo believes the Bears could be big players in free agency, perhaps targeting a top offensive tackle or wide receiver to pair up with Chase Claypool. The combination of Claypool and Fields under affordable contracts leaves a lot of space for the Bears to surround them with pricier talent
“They have a young weapon, Chase Claypool under team control for at least two years when you think about the one more year under contract and then a potential franchise tag, if they don’t extend him,” Lombardo said. “You have a young quarterback who’s going to be entering his third season, which is when they really start to hit their stride. He’s already making strides halfway through his second season and he’s ascending in the back half of 2022. You can very quickly retool and rebuild around someone like Justin Fields.”
“I think the Bears are going to sneak up on some people this offseason and make a real run next year,” Lombardo concluded.