Bears Declined Better Trade Offer at Justin Fields’ Request: Report

Justin Fields Trade Offer Chicago Bears News Steelers

Getty Justin Fields, formerly of the Chicago Bears.

Turns out, the Chicago Bears did have Justin Fields’ best interests in mind when figuring out where to trade their quarterback during the 2024 NFL offseason.

The Bears officially traded Fields — the No. 11 pick in the 2021 draft — to the Pittsburgh Steelers on March 16 in exchange for a 2025 sixth-round pick that becomes a fourth-rounder if Fields meets the necessary playing-time threshold next season.

Ultimately, the Bears received a far worse return for Fields than many experts predicted they could get for him. Most notably, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said in February they could “definitely” get a second-round pick for him and possibly even a first-round selection.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, though, the Bears had at least four other teams inquiring about a potential trade for Fields, but his representation requested the team not send him to any of those teams, making it clear Fields preferred the Steelers.

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin added that the Bears turned down a better offer in the interest of doing right by him — as general manager Ryan Poles said he wanted to do.

“The Bears had an additional offer with stronger draft capital from a team with an established starter, per a source, but chose to send Fields to Pittsburgh with the hope of putting the 25-year-old in a position to continue his development — first as a backup to Wilson and eventually as a starter,” Cronin wrote on March 17.

Which Other Teams Inquired About Justin Fields?

Neither Cronin nor Rapoport specified which teams inquired about Fields in their respective reports, but details from other insiders can help us piece things together.

One team known to have been interested is the Philadelphia Eagles. According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the Eagles “were one of the teams that talked to the Bears about Justin Fields, but obviously could not get to the point where they agreed on a price, so they traded for [former Steelers quarterback Kenny] Pickett” instead.

The Eagles’ acquisition of Pickett allowed the Steelers to renew their interest in Fields and ultimately get a trade done for him less than 24 hours later.

Reports also linked the Las Vegas Raiders to Fields. Back on February 21, Sportskeeda’s Tony Pauline wrote that the Raiders had “genuine interest” in acquiring Fields and would explore the possibility of a trade. The Athletic’s Vic Tafur later confirmed Pauline’s report, writing that the Raiders would “kick the tires” on Fields during free agency.

The Raiders instead signed veteran Gardner Minshew to a two-year, $25 million deal.

Perhaps as more time passes — or once Fields speaks about the whole situation from his new home in Pittsburgh — the other interested teams will become clear.

Will Bears Make More Non-Rookie Additions at QB?

The Bears have now set the stage to take a rookie quarterback — likely USC’s Caleb Wiliams — with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Could they still make another addition at quarterback, though, before the start of training camp in July?

The Bears currently have two quarterbacks on their roster after trading Fields: 2023 rookie backup Tyson Bagent and newly signed veteran Brett Rypien, who signed a one-year contract with the team at the start of the new league year. The Bears might view Rypien as a veteran backup option who can add experience to their young quarterback room in 2024, but there are reasons to think he is not a substantial enough addition.

Rypien has started in four of his 10 career games over the past four seasons and touts an unimpressive career completion percentage of just 58.3. He has also thrown twice as many interceptions (9) as he has touchdown passes (4).

If the Bears prefer to have a more seasoned pro backing up their No. 1 overall rookie, then the best of the remaining free agent quarterbacks, as of March 18, are veterans Ryan Tannehill and Joshua Dobbs. Tannehill would be a significant upgrade over either Bagent or Rypien, but the former Pro Bowler could be seeking a contract that puts him out of Chicago’s price range.

Given how the market looks, the Bears are likely done adding non-rookie quarterbacks. Never say never, though.

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