Justin Fields

Josh Lucas amplifies drafting Caleb, keeping Fields could be detrimental with shocking detail

Josh Lucas admits pairing Fields with Andy Dalton and Nick Foles did not work out

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One idea some pundits have conjured about the best way to fix the Bears' quarterback situation is combining the best of both worlds, drafting USC's Caleb Williams and keeping Justin Fields for the last year of his rookie contract.

That's an idea the Bears have discussed, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter. But is it the right idea? One former Bears executive explained why it could be detrimental, providing an eye-opening story from Fields' rookie year.

"Justin wasn't great his rookie year," Josh Lucas told Bill Zimmerman. "We thought having two veterans with him would really help him with Andy [Dalton] and Nick [Foles]. And that was not cohesive at all. The part I kind of liked about it was Justin knew he was the best and should be out there. But the part you don't like about it is there's a teachable moment in every point of practice. There are teachable moments in the building every day, how you carry yourself as a quarterback. There are teachable moments at press conferences. There are teachable moments every snap on Sunday.

"And when you've got two guys who have won as much as Nick and seen as much as Andy, and you don't take that information in, because you're a little standoff-ish and a little abrasive, you're wasting that opportunity. It would be risky from a team-dynamic standpoint. But if you think it out, let Caleb sit for a year while you're still continuing to build your team, and you get another year of Justin on a cheap deal, it's not the craziest thing."

MORE: Why Bears drafting Caleb Williams, keeping Justin Fields is a bad idea

Indeed, Fields sat behind Dalton and Foles before getting the starting nod for 10 games his rookie season when Dalton went down with an injury. Foles played just one game with the Bears that season while helping coach up the organization's new rookie quarterback.

Those situations, as Lucas mentioned, can be extremely beneficial. Patrick Mahomes sat behind Alex Smith in Kansas City. Jordan Love sat behind Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Jimmy Garrapolo was the backup to Tom Brady in New England before he launched his career as a starter.

But there's a stark contrast between Fields' situation during his rookie season and the hypothetical one where the Bears bring in Williams to sit behind him. The aforementioned quarterbacks Fields sat behind, and the ones listed above, are all heading towards the end of their respective careers.

Fields is not.

Dalton, 36, is hanging around with the Carolina Panthers, backing up and coaching Bryce Young. Foles, 33, didn't play in 2023 and spent 2022 with the Indianapolis Colts after spending two years in Chicago and one year in Jacksonville before then.

With Fields only scratching the surface of his career, plus the locker room's unwavering support of him remaining with the team, placing Williams in a situation where Fields has the opportunity still to become the starting quarterback for the long-term future probably isn't the best idea. At some point, one of them will have to go, and one of them will have to get paid.

The Bears could also be using that pick or that money to develop the roster in key places elsewhere. Yes, the Bears just freed up $21.7 million in cap space by cutting Cody Whitehair and Eddie Jackson. But every dollar counts.

And it's tempting for a franchise with a tortured quarterback history to try and defy the odds with two up-and-coming quarterbacks on the roster. But implosion isn't an improbable outcome from choosing that route. It would best serve the Bears to pick one and place their full confidence in him.

Want to sign a veteran free agent on a cheap deal to help coach up a newcomer? Be my guest. But placing Fields in a gray area between coaching up a rookie and fighting for his career isn't helpful. It's destructive. It's unfair to him and the hypothetical quarterback the Bears would draft in this situation.

Case in point, with two proven quarterbacks alongside him in concrete, understood player-coach roles, Fields didn't even listen to those two, according to Lucas.

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