The Chicago Bears got lucky in more ways than one when they landed former Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. The Bears pounced when Fields was still there at No. 11, moving up from the 20th overall pick to nab him in this year’s draft.
While Chicago has said veteran Andy Dalton will be the team’s starter, it’s clear Fields is the future — and if he has success this season or beyond, he’ll be one of the biggest bargains in the league. The Bears just signed the 22-year-old quarterback to a four-year, $18.8 million contract, which includes an $11 million signing bonus and a 2021 cap hit of $3.4 million, per Spotrac.
Brett Kollman, NFL analyst and the creator/host of The Film Room, took to Twitter on June 12 to point out an absolutely ridiculous fact about the rookie’s deal — and it will delight Bears fans everywhere. Fans of the Minnesota Vikings? Not so much.
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A Look at the Contracts of Kirk Cousins & Justin Fields
“To put it into perspective how cost effective it is to have a competent QB on a rookie contract,” Kollman Tweeted, “Before halftime of their 11th game this season the Vikings will pay Kirk Cousins the exact same amount that the Bears will end up paying Justin Fields over the entire next 4 years.”
Woah. That’s a big-time bargain for Chicago, particularly if Fields lives up to the lofty expectations surrounding him. His contract has given an aging defense a window again, which is huge for the organization as a whole.
Cousins signed a two-year, $66 million extension earlier this year after originally signing a three-year, $84 million deal with the Vikes in 2018. His $21 million base salary for 2021 is fully guaranteed, as is his 2022 base salary of $35 million. The contract of Cousins alone occupies 17 percent of the Vikings’ salary cap this season, and next year, it shoots up to around 22 percent of the team’s entire cap. Meanwhile, Fields will make less than $19 million over four years, and he also has a fifth-year option.
To be clear, this isn’t a knock on the performance of Cousins. The Bears haven’t had a 4,000 yard passer in franchise history, and Cousins has five 4,000+ yard seasons, so he has been fine. His contract, however — not so much.
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Nagy Planning to Use Patrick Mahomes Model With Fields
If all goes according to Matt Nagy’s plan, the Bears will sit Fields behind Dalton and Nick Foles for a year before handing the reins over to him in season two, just as Nagy and Andy Reid did with Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City in 2017.
“In that scenario in ’17, when you ask Patrick, for him to be able to develop like that and learn from Alex (Smith) and grow, he would probably tell you it was a pretty good thing to happen to him. If he would have played sooner, would he have done what he did the following year? Maybe. We don’t know that. But for him — I don’t want to speak for Patrick. But I would guess it helped him grow to be able to really learn,” Nagy said, also noting Fields and Dalton have been getting along swimmingly.
“Those guys build their own relationship when they’re in there watching tape and, again, like I think the biggest thing that Justin can learn from Andy is just understanding that the defenses that he’s seeing, not just out at practice on the field, but also when they’re watching tape together, he can explain something in a way that a player really thinks about it. And so he’s going to help him grow.”