Justin Fields

Moving on from Justin Fields could scar the Bears: report

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler revealed how the Bears would feel if they got rid of Justin Fields

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Arguably one of the most significant decisions in recent franchise history weighs the Bears this offseason. Should they move on from Justin Fields? Or, should they continue placing faith in him as QB1?

Recent reports suggest moving on from Fields could scar the Bears' locker room, as they are steadfast on the third-year signal caller remaining their leader moving forward.

Here's what ESPN's Jeremy Fowler's reporting dictates on the subject of Fields.

"A front office source said Fields' "special" playmaking has "absolutely" made the Bears' quarterback decision for April's draft more difficult," Fowler recently wrote. "Issues of team chemistry will play a role, and the Bears will evaluate the totality of Fields' performance in Chicago, including the impact of a supporting cast that has not always been a complement during his three seasons ... The scars of a recent teardown that saw the team jettison its best and most popular players remain apparent."

One anonymous veteran staunchly announced his future criticism, should the Bears move on from Fields.

"It's like, if you get rid of him [Fields], what are we doing?" a Bears veteran said to Fowler. "It's like last year when they got rid of [linebacker] Roquan [Smith] and Rob [pass-rusher Robert Quinn]. That was our captain. We knew we were going down."

It's one thing to get rid of a player. But it's another thing to get rid of a leader. That will jeopardize a locker room. Case in point, the Bears' jettisoning of Smith and Quinn at the 2022 NFL trade deadline affected the locker room.

And Fields has ample support from his team. There's no question about that. After the Bears' win over the Falcons on Sunday, all of them shared their unwavering support for their quarterback.

“I want Justin. We all want Justin. Let’s go!" Jaquan Brisker said in the locker room after the win. "That’s our guy. That guy makes plays for sure and he’s a leader. We like a guy like that. He’s giving it all he’s got. He broke five tackles. I don’t even know, man. He’s amazing for sure. You can’t let a guy like that slip.”

"I’ve said it before, I’m going to keep saying it -- what makes him not the quarterback?" DJ Moore said after the win. "I mean today, the Houdini act should have put the nail in the [coffin] ... he’s ‘Him’. He’s going to be the quarterback. I want him to be the quarterback. I said what I said, now it’s on the higher-ups. It’s up to them."

Even the fans at Soldier Field showed their support. Loud "We want Fields!" chants filled the stadium during the game. It's clear Fields' leadership, professionalism and highlight reel plays have won over the fans.

But, does that matter?

How much should the locker room's opinion fare on Ryan Poles and the front office's decision on Fields? At the end of the day, if a player isn't doing his job, it's up to the front office to dutifully move on from said player and find a valuable replacement.

For what it's worth, Fields' value in the trade market doesn't appear to be that eye-popping, according to Fowler.

"The consensus in an informal poll of league evaluators is that Fields would be worth a second- or third-round pick in a pre-draft trade," Fowler said.

On the other hand, the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL draft appears to have tremendous value.

"If the Bears traded the first pick, the return could be immense," Fowler wrote. "Several executives agree Chicago could net more than it did in the Panthers trade, and from a prospective trade partner already picking in the top five. Those execs believe the price to get to No. 1 could be two future first-rounders on top of this year's pick, along with a variation of a Day 2 pick and/or a premium veteran player on a manageable contract."

Stay tuned to see which way Poles & Co. will take the Bears and how much the locker room has a hand in their decision to either keep or move on from Fields.

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