Bears Trade Proposal Flips Justin Fields for $230 Million QB

Bears Lamar Fields Trade Proposal

Getty Quarterback Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears looks onward during pregame at Soldier Field on September 25, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

No matter how many times Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles throws his support behind quarterback Justin Fields, the doubters just keep coming.

The latest bit of doubt cast Fields’ way comes from ESPN’s Bill Barnwell, who ranked the Bears sixth on his list of 13 teams he believes should have a conversation about trading for Baltimore Ravens star and former MVP Lamar Jackson in 2023. He argued that Jackson’s career success after five seasons in the league would be “Fields’ ceiling” as a pro and that Jackson would give Chicago a quarterback with a “much higher” floor.

“Fields could win an MVP if everything breaks right and he develops with more talent around him in the years to come, but Jackson has already won one,” Barnwell wrote in his updated article for March 27 following Jackson’s confirmation of his trade request. “Jackson won’t be cheap, but the Bears have plenty of cap space, and his floor is much higher than Fields’.”

Barnwell also added what he believes compensation could look like in a potential trade for Jackson. He proposed the Bears could probably avoid paying the non-exclusive tag’s price of two first-round picks if they offered up Fields and the 2024 first-round pick they acquired from Carolina in their previous trade involving the No. 1 overall pick.

Bears Trading for Lamar Jackson Would Be Lunacy

Look, I get it; Barnwell was asked to consider every single team in the league that has questions at the quarterback position and play out the pros and cons of them exploring a trade for Jackson. It is a fun exercise for fanbases who do not currently have a young quarterback in position to lead their franchise, teams such as the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Putting the Bears on the list, though, is contrary to just about every single thing Poles has done for Chicago this offseason.

Poles has been very aggressively trying to install better weapons around Fields over the past six months to help his young quarterback take the next step during his second year in Luke Getsy’s offense in 2023. He traded away a premium — probably more premium than he hoped — second-round pick to get wide receiver Chase Claypool at the trade deadline. He insisted on star wideout D.J. Moore being part of the trade compensation when the Panthers were desperate to get the top overall pick. He even signed a quality pass-catcher in tight end Robert Tonyan Jr. to give him a variety of good options.

Not a single one of those moves suggest that Poles has any intention of making a move at quarterback, especially not one for a disgruntled quarterback who has only played 12 games in each of his last two season and is believed to be seeking a new contract “in the neighborhood” of $230 million, according to Barnwell. In reality, Poles is so confident in Fields’ upside that he “doubts” he will even need to consider replacing him in 2024, based on what he told renowned NFL insider Peter King in their recent interviews.

Cry all you want, nonbelievers; Fields is going to be the guy for the Bears in 2023.

Next Step for Bears: More Protection for Justin Fields

Back in reality, the Bears are still trying to figure out what exactly they want to do with their first-round pick (No. 9 overall) in the 2023 draft next month. They could take a lineman on either side of the ball and would be addressing a key area of need on their roster. They could also potentially take one of the top cornerbacks in the class or even trade back another several spots to potentially pick up an extra second-round pick.

Unless Georgia’s Jalen Carter falls and gives them something to think about with the ninth pick, though, the safest bet at this point seems to be an offensive tackle.

The Bears have been scoping out several of the top left tackles in the class, including Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski, Ohio State’s Paris Johnson Jr. and Georgia’s Broderick Jones. Adding any one of them would instantly raise the skill ceiling on Fields’ frontline protection for next season. It could also provide the Bears with another foundational piece of their rebuild, especially if Poles is able to lean on his experience as a former NFL offensive lineman to keenly find the best tackle of the bunch.

The 2023 NFL draft will begin on April 27 and run until April 29. The Bears are currently set to have 10 total selections in the draft, including four picks in the top 64.

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