I’m going to make a disclaimer right at the start of this piece. I’m a Justin Fields guy.
When the clock ran down on the 2022 season with the Chicago Bears holding the first overall pick in the draft, you knew that there would be rumors linking Fields with a trade.
In his season ending press-conference Bears GM Ryan Poles committed to Fields as the starter, but he inserted his own exit clause saying he’d need to be “blown away” by a QB to take them #1 overall.
Being blown away by Bryce Young who threw for 80 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in three years at Alabama is easy, same for CJ Stroud who threw 85 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in two years at Ohio State. What I’m basically saying is, Justin Fields getting traded isn’t out of the question.
Earlier this week NFL insider Jason La Canfora added fuel to the fire when he tweeted “More than one NFL general manager came away from the Senior Bowl fairly convinced that Justin Fields will be dealt”.
Instantly I ruled out the Jets as a potential suitor. Robert Saleh, Joe Douglas and Woody Johnson have all spoken about trading for a veteran. A player who can lead the team while Zach sits back and learns the pro game. Justin Fields obviously came into the league at the same time as Wilson, so he falls way short of being considered a “veteran” QB.
It’s very likely that Ryan Poles is leaking bits of information to drive the price up for any potential trade. I’m looking at the Colts at #4 here, and if they believe that there is a chance that both Young and Stroud are gone by that pick, they may be inclined to offer the Bears a deal they can’t refuse.
We also need to consider that this is coming from Jason La Canforca who has a long and well documented history of being wrong. Even the best NFL guys are wrong on occasions, it’s the nature of the work, the media are used as pawns in the general manager game of chess, but Canforca has taken innacuracy to a different level in recent years.
But lets for arguments sake say that Justin Fields is available. Should the Jets be interested?
PFF’s George Chahrouri posted out an absurd trade proposal yesterday which had the Jets trading two first round picks, two second round picks and Elijah Moore for Fields. Let me confidently tell you that isn’t happening. Like I said, I’m a Justin Fields guy, but he still has a lot to prove at the NFL level.
But, he is coming off a much improved season for a Bears team who gave him Claypool and little else to work with. Let’s take a quick look at some of the stats and I’ve put his 2021 stats in brackets as a comparison:
Completion: 60.4% (58.9%)
Passing Touchdowns: 17 (7)
Interceptions: 11 (10)
Touchdown %: 5.3 (2.6)
Interception %: 3.5 (3.7)
QBR: 54.0 (26.4)
Rushing Yards: 1143 (420)
Rushing TDs: 8 (2)
Rushing Yards/Game: 76.2 (35.0)
Justin Fields is a long way from a finished article and in many ways his career mirrors that of Jalen Hurts. If you actually look at their statistics, they’re pretty similar at this stage of their career. In year two Hurts completed 61.3% of passes for 16 touchdowns, 9 interceptions with a QBR of 48.5. He had 784 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns to his name too.
Hurts in year three continued his ascendency and finished 2nd overall in MVP voting. Now just because their careers have followed a similar trajectory to this point, doesn’t mean that will continue. But Fields is an incredibly talented player, working behind a very questionable o-line with very little to work with. The Eagles went out and got A.J Brown after drafting DeVonta Smith 10th overall in 2021.
I believe in Fields as much as I did when I banged the drum for him over Wilson during the 2021 draft cycle, but I think Ryan Poles is just acting to drive the price up for that 1st overall pick here, and don’t believe Fields is really on the block. If he is, then it all comes down to cost, what would the Bears want in return. It would almost certainly start with a 1st and then go from there.
I think the Jets want that veteran presence in the room, but I’d be disappointed if Joe Douglas didn’t at least make the call.