Justin Fields

Chase Daniel shares candid thoughts on Justin Fields trade, Caleb Williams

Former Bears QB Chase Daniel joined NBC Sports Chicago's Football Night in Chicago on Tuesday

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Former Bears signal caller Chase Daniel joined NBC Sports Chicago's "Football Night in Chicago" on Tuesday to break down his thoughts on the Justin Fields trade and the prospects of Caleb Williams.

Daniel is a staunch Fields fan who had hoped the Bears would keep Fields and trade the No. 1 pick down for a haul to build around him. He believes Fields would improve just by playing on the team Ryan Poles and the Bears have currently built up this offseason.

"If you put the pieces that you're putting around the No. 1 pick, around Justin, I feel like he would've gotten even better," Daniel said. "He got a lot more comfortable in the pocket. He processed things at a much higher rate. He won over the locker room. He won over the city."

Former Bears QB Chase Daniel joins Football Night in Chicago to talk about how things could have panned out if the Bears had kept Justin Fields

It's true. Fields had the hearts of all his teammates in the locker room, plus the city's fans. They're all drawn to the same things. Everyone can appreciate and respect his work ethic, leadership and toughness.

And it's also true Fields likely would've improved with the additions the Bears brought in this offseason. They notably acquired Keenan Allen, De'Andre Swift and Gerald Everett. They also re-signed Jaylon Johnson and signed Kevin Byard to replace Eddie Jackson on defense.

Instead, the Bears opted to trade him to the Steelers in exchange for a conditional 2025 sixth-round pick that can change into a fourth-round pick if Fields plays at minimum 51% of snaps with the Steelers this season.

Initially, most suspected the Bears could return a second - or third-round pick for Fields. But alas, the Bears traded him to Pittsburgh for a sixth-rounder, which is too low of a return, according to Daniels.

"Why could you not have held onto him maybe for a few more months?" Daniel asked. "I understand your franchise and your job is trying to take care of a player in Justin Fields and put him in the right position. .. But if you hold onto him in training camp, maybe preseason, maybe Week 2 or 3 of the season ... There were 13-14 different starters who got hurt last year. Your trade value immensely rises."

Former Bears QB Chase Daniel joins Football Night in Chicago to talk about how much more the Bears could have gotten for Justin Fields

A recent report from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport revealed Fields could've been traded to one of four different teams outside of the Steelers who offered the Bears assets for Fields. Instead, Fields and his representation requested he be sent to Pittsburgh, where ultimately the Bears' return was compromised to appease Fields.

But in terms of timing, it's difficult to suggest Fields and the No. 1 overall pick, assuming the Bears draft a quarterback, could coexist in the same environment. Fields, as Daniels said, had won over the feelings of the locker room, which would make it harder for them to accept the newcomer while Fields remains in the building, in theory.

Sure, would the Bears have gotten a better return for Fields had they waited past the NFL draft or into the beginning of the season? No question. But that's not what the Bears promised Fields at the NFL combine when they said they planned to "do right" by him.

That meant shipping him off as quickly as possible to his preferred destination so he could begin the next chapter of his career as quickly and as smoothly as possible. That doesn't happen if you hang onto him out of greed for a better-asking price.

Nevertheless, Fields trade opened the door for the Bears to take a quarterback with the No. 1 pick in the draft. Who will that be? All signs point to USC's Caleb Williams.

Daniel suggests the Bears could be a lethal team as quickly as next season with the pieces they have ready to support Williams or any quarterback they bring in.

"I do think the pieces around him are probably the best he's had, in terms of a No. 1 pick going to a team in the last decade," Daniel said. "... This to me, in terms of players surrounding them, and staff, and defense, this is easily the top. So he better play good and you better play good right away."

Former Bears QB Chase Daniel joins Football Night in Chicago to talk about the high expectations for the Bears' presumed first-overall draft pick Caleb Williams

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