As optimism continues to slip about Justin Fields and his tenure with the Bears, one begins to wonder what the minds inside Halas Hall are thinking about the quarterback they hoped would blossom into their franchise cornerstone.
NBC's Peter King jumped on 670 the Score to explain his thinking on the matter and guess as to how the front office is processing Fields' performance three weeks in to a winless season. He cited four conversations he had with Poles around the time of the NFL combine to suggest a non-committal mindset from the Bears.
"Never did he say to me point blank 'Justin Fields is our quarterback forever. He's got this job. We are committed to Justin Fields forever,'" King said on Parkins & Spiegel. "These quotes are on the range of 'Listen, we love Justin Fields. He's gonna have every opportunity to prove he's the quarterback of the Bears for the next 10 or 15 years.'
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"He never said 'This is his job forever.' He said 'We are going to give him every opportunity to win this job forever.'"
Remember, Poles did not draft Fields. Back during the 2021 NFL draft, Ryan Pace was the general manager of the Chicago Bears. He traded with the New York Giants to move up in the draft and select Fields.
About eight months later, Pace was relieved of his duties as the general manager. And not long after that, Poles was hired to succeed him.
This is all to say Fields' presence on the Bears is not Poles' responsibility. He inherited the Ohio State product and is giving him a shot to prove he can be the franchise guy. If he doesn't succeed, it's within Poles' rights to want a shot at drafting a quarterback he can attach his name.
That time might be coming soon, in King's eyes.
"Justin Fields probably has a few weeks [before being benched]," King said. "If you're the Bears, you basically say 'Hey listen, we always knew that the biggest things about this season is we need, by the end of 2023, we need to know who are quarterback will be for 2024."
To King's point, Fields does not appear to be the likely quarterback in 2024, at this moment.
That could change with one performance. But through three weeks, Fields is objectively failing. He's averaging 175 passing yards per game with three passing touchdowns and four interceptions on the season.
If he doesn't turn things around this season, he could earn a place on the bench. If that happens, Poles could easily take matters into his own hands in the 2024 NFL draft.