NFL insider Mike Florio had some eyebrow-raising comments about the Chicago Bears and their potential plans for second-year quarterback Justin Fields.
In an April 13 appearance on 670 The Score’s Dan Bernstein Show, Florio suggested the Bears may be deliberately trying to get worse. The reason? Florio thinks it’s because they don’t believe Fields will become a competent NFL starter, and they might be trying to get in better position to draft another QB as early as 2023.
Since taking over the team in January of 2022, new general manager Ryan Poles has traded superstar pass rusher Khalil Mack to the Chargers, while cutting veteran mainstays like Danny Trevathan, Tarik Cohen and Eddie Goldman. Poles has also let several of the team’s top free agents, including wide receiver Allen Robinson and offensive lineman James Daniels, sign contracts with new teams.
Florio implied the Bears did these things because they’re trying to get worse in 2022 in order to get a higher draft pick next year.
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Florio: Bears May Be Taking Steps to Move on From Fields
The Bears spent their 2021 first-round pick on Fields, and they also used their first-round selection in 2022 to nab him at No. 11 overall in the draft last year. It seems illogical the team would try to move on from him so soon, but Florio explained why he thinks that’s a possibility:
There’s a fine line between deliberately, strategically taking a step back, and tanking. There’s a fine line between those two things. But it feels like the Bears are deliberately taking a step back, and the problem is usually teams do that when they don’t have a quarterback they believe in, because part of the set up is: ‘We’ll be so bad, we’ll end up getting a quarterback that becomes our franchise foundation.’ Maybe that’s the hidden message here. That the new regime doesn’t believe in Justin Fields. Because if they did, would they be tearing everything else down? Or would they be trying to build everything else up?
Florio also noted Fields may struggle more with many of Chicago’s top players now gone.
“If the team stinks, Justin Fields is going to have a rough year, and fans are gonna be like: ‘Well, we wasted a couple of first-round picks on him. On to the next one.’ So maybe there’s truth to the idea — and it sure looks like it — that they’re deliberately tearing everything down, it could be that this is just step one toward moving on from Justin Fields at the appropriate time, which could be as soon as next year, if they would trade him to someone else and then begin their search for whoever the next franchise quarterback is going to be,” he added.
But top Bears insider Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog says there’s no truth to Florio’s insinuations.
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Hughes: Bears Believe in Fields
Hughes, who has been on top of multiple breaking stories surrounding the Bears over the past year, including first reporting the team was parting ways with erstwhile GM Ryan Pace, took to Twitter to dispute Florio’s comments:
In another tweet, Hughes wrote Florio’s comments were “literally not true.”
So who’s to be believed? Hughes is clearly the more tuned-in insider, and he has hit on enough Bears-related scoops in the past year to carry more weight than Florio, who has been hit or miss in the past with his reports.
The new Bears regime has also gone on record multiple times as being strong supporters of the young QB.
“I just see a guy that’s ready to develop. He’s so ready to develop and wants to be sponge,” head coach Matt Eberflus told SI’s Albert Breer in February about Fields. “We’ve talked about giving him an education on the defensive side in terms of coverages as well as the offensive side in terms of schemes. He’s ready to develop and excited to get going.”