Ex-GM Links Raiders to ‘Explosive’ $19 Million Star QB

Justin Fields, linked to the Raiders by ex-GM Randy Mueller

Getty Justin Fields, linked to the Raiders by ex-GM Randy Mueller

There are few players in the NFL who are lightning rods for wildly different opinions quite like Bears quarterback Justin Fields. While Fields’s improved play lately has reopened the possibility that he will be back in Chicago next year, there’s still a feeling, as expressed by ex-GM Randy Mueller in The Athletic this week, that the Fields-Bears pairing is broken Fields needs to be sent elsewhere. And, as others have done, Mueller is nudging forward a potential Las Vegas Raiders trade.

Now, Mueller is clear that, to succeed with Justin Fields at quarterback, a team will need to build its offense around him. That likely would mean pairing Fields with a coach who has experience working with a player like Fields—Mueller suggests Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson on that front.

The Raiders certainly could be in the market for a new quarterback. And, for that matter, a new coach.

“For someone to buy Fields stock, I think it will take an offensive head coach who is all in with a system similar to Philadelphia’s with Jalen Hurts. The Colts are attempting something similar by drafting Anthony Richardson, the ultimate bet on Indianapolis coach and former Eagles OC Shane Steichen’s ability to mold talent and develop passing skills,” Mueller wrote.

Raiders Trade for Justin Fields Would Require an Overhaul

As for the possibility of a Raiders trade for Justin Fields, Mueller lists Las Vegas in a group of four teams that should be looking to make a change at quarterback, and perhaps in overall coaching philosophy along with it. Making a trade for Fields, he indicates, must not just be a quarterback deal, but an overhaul of approach in general.

Wrote Mueller: “Here are four teams that should be QB hunting, if new offensive philosophies are in the cards: New England, Las Vegas Raiders, New Orleans and Seattle.

Few players have demonstrated the ability to be a running threat from the quarterback position quite like Justin Fields. He rushed for 1,143 yards in 2022, and led the NFL with 7.1 yards per carry on the season. The Bears, unwisely, tried to make him more of a pocket passer this year, a move that Fields complained about, saying that his play was becoming, “robotic.”

Mueller noted that was a mistake. Any team taking on Fields must be willing to run a hybrid offense that takes advantage of his running.

“Attempts to use Fields in somebody else’s system have failed in Chicago. He deserves better than that. Eagles offensive coordinator Brian Johnson is highly thought of and will likely get head-coaching interviews this offseason. I could see Fields and Johnson being a good match down the road,” Mueller wrote.

Coach & GM Spots Up for Change?

It’s hard to say, even with only three weeks to play in the season, whether such a Raiders trade would suit the team because there is still so much to figure out at the top of the organization. The team has an interim general manager in Champ Kelly and an interim coach in Antonio Pierce.

If there is a change in direction from Pierce and Kelly, it might make some sense to change direction at quarterback, too, and Justin Fields would certainly qualify as that. He is relatively cheap, and still on his $19 million rookie contract with only $6 million on the books for next year, giving the Raiders a chance to audition him before committing to a long-term marriage.

As Mueller notes, “The question facing the (Bears) now is whether Justin Fields’ rare explosive athletic traits and strong arm are great enough to overcome his inconsistent accuracy and frequent misses.”

That would be a problem for Fields’ next team, too. He would require a commitment in terms of philosophical change. And that is the kind of thing the organization needs to work out before any such Raiders trade is made.

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