Bears Star Projected as Top NFL Breakout Player in 2023

Getty Head coach Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears looks on during a game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field on November 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears are poised to make a leap in 2023, but they’ll only go as far as the young stars on their team will take them.

That is especially true for quarterback Justin Fields, who stood on the precipice of NFL history as a runner last season and is looking for the year-three bump as a passer both inside and outside of the pocket.

Chicago has spent the offseason loading up the roster with weapons for Fields in the passing game, including wide receiver D.J. Moore, formerly of the Carolina Panthers, and tight end Robert Tonyan, formerly of the Green Bay Packers. They join wide receivers Darnell Mooney and Chase Claypool, the latter of whom the Bears acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers at last season’s trade deadline.

With some improvements already made to the offensive line and more likely coming either via free agency or the draft, the Bears’ offensive attack is shaping up to be formidable. In that vein, Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report on Sunday, March 26, projected Fields among the 10 players in the league poised to have the biggest breakout seasons in 2023.

Fields Predicted to Make MVP Jump Similar to Jalen Hurts in Year 3

Justin Fields, Bears

GettyQuarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field on December 24, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

According to Moton, the Bears already have enough talent as currently constructed for Fields to shine brightly in the upcoming campaign.

Moton went so far as to predict the kind of leap that Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles made last year in his third season, when he was in the running for MVP until an injury tripped up his chances.

Moore and Mooney have at least one 1,000-yard season on their respective resumes. … Claypool may have a stronger rapport with Fields after they go through an offseason together.

The Bears lost running back David Montgomery in free agency, but they signed D’Onta Foreman, who can handle a sizable workload alongside Khalil Herbert in the backfield.

With the addition of two pass-catchers, Moore and Tonyan, Chicago should have a more balanced offense that doesn’t require Fields to run the ball 10-11 times per game. Assuming he logs fewer carries and more pass attempts, the Bears signal-caller could make strides that compare closely to Jalen Hurts’ third-year leap in 2022.

Bears Need Fields to Improve as Passer to Contend For NFC North

Justin Fields

GettyQuarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears warms up during pregame against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

With Aaron Rodgers likely on his way out of Green Bay and the Vikings appearing to take a step back in order to reorganize their roster for the long-term, the NFC North Division is among the most winnable in football next season. However, if the Bears are going to have any shot at competing, Fields needs to improve as a passer.

Fields completed just 60.4% of his passes in 2022 and earned a QBR of 54.0, per Pro Football Reference. He was sacked 55 times to lead the league, which didn’t help, and better protection should lead to better performance in 2023.

The quarterback was also 17th in the NFL in yards per pass attempt at 7.1, per StatMuse. Those numbers should improve with the additions of Moore and Tonyan, as well as a return of a healthy Mooney and more chemistry with Claypool.

For the year, Fields threw for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

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