Justin Fields

Justin Fields trade: What happened, what the Bears got, what it means and more

The decision capped off months of speculation and new details continued to come out in the hours since the trade was first reported

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In the midst of St. Patrick's Day weekend celebrations, the Chicago Bears made their biggest move of the offseason so far and traded Justin Fields.

The decision capped off months of speculation and new details continued to come out in the hours since the trade was first reported.

Here's a look at everything we know so far and what went down:

Bears trade Fields

The Bears announced Sunday that Fields was being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fields will become the backup in Pittsburgh behind Russell Wilson, according to several reports.

What did the Bears get in exchange for Fields?

The Bears will receive a sixth-round pick that could turn into a fourth-round pick.

Initial reports suggested the Bears could yield as much as a second-round pick for Fields. Unfortunately, free agency hampered his value, as several quarterbacks signed with the spots that resounded most with Fields. Wilson was one of those quarterbacks, signing with the Steelers.

For the Bears to earn a fourth-round pick from the Steelers, he would need to defy the odds and play 51% of snaps for the team during the 2024 season. It's all but likely this pick will not convey into a fourth-rounder and remain in the sixth round.

What does this mean for Fields?

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told Fields that he’ll begin the year as Wilson’s backup, per Albert Breer.

It appears the move is actually what Fields wanted.

According to Ian Rapoport, the Bears had several offers for Fields this offseason, but sent him to Pittsburgh because that’s what Fields preferred.

Even if Fields spends the whole year as a backup this year, there’s a chance he rebuilds his image enough to compete for a starting job in 2025. That’s what fellow former Bears first-round pick Mitch Trubisky did across the 2021 and 2022 seasons. After the Bears decided to roll with Fields, Trubisky signed on with the Bills to backup Josh Allen. One season later, the Steelers (again) made Trubisky their starter.

Fields modeled his game after Wilson, so now he’ll have the opportunity to learn from Wilson himself.

“I would say when I was younger, like maybe eighth, ninth grade, it was more Cam Newton. But I would say these past couple years I’ve kind of turned more to a Russell Wilson-type quarterback,” Fields said right after the Bears drafted him in 2021. “I’ve watched a lot of film on him. I’ve watched a lot of highlights on him, so I think the things that we can do on the field with both of those quarterbacks, I think we have a lot of similarities between extending plays with our legs and also having the arm talent. So I think those are a couple of guys that I kind of emulate my game after.”

“I've always looked up to him,” Fields said about Wilson later in 2021. “The kind of person he is on the field and off the field. He’s a great quarterback and a great person.”

What did Justin Fields say?

Fields issued a heartfelt goodbye message to Chicagoans on Saturday shortly after news of the trade came out.

Minutes after the trade was revealed, the quarterback posted a message on X, the social media platform previously known as Twitter. He thanked the city of Chicago, the Bears' organization and his fellow teammates.

"Can’t say thank you enough to the city of Chicago for taking me in and embracing me," he said, in part. "...But most of all thank you to my all my brothers that I played with. You all were the reason I attacked each day the way I did. I can’t thank you all enough for what y’all have meant to me over the last 3 years through the ups and downs. I wish each one of you nothing but success..."

Fields ended the post saying he's "ready for this next chapter!"

What did the Bears say?

General manager Ryan Poles released a statement following the trade.

"We have engaged in multiple trade conversations in recent weeks and believe trading Justin at this time to Pittsburgh is what's best for both Justin and the Bears," Poles said. "Today we spoke to Justin to inform him of the trade and the rationale behind it for us as a Club. We want to thank him for his tireless dedication, leadership and all he poured into our franchise and community the last three years and we wish him the best towards a long and successful NFL career."

What does this mean for the NFL Draft and the Bears' pick?

This move won’t affect the Bears in this year’s draft. The conditional pick the team will receive in the Fields trade is for 2025.

Given that, here’s the latest slate of Bears draft picks for this year and next year:


First-round pick (No. 1 overall, via Panthers)
First-round pick (No. 9 overall)
Third-round pick (No. 75 overall)
Fourth-round pick (No. 122 overall, via Eagles)

The Bears have used most of their draft picks already in a variety of high-profile trades. Their second-round pick belongs to the Commanders due to the Montez Sweat trade. They sent their fourth-rounder to the Chargers for Keenan Allen. They used their fifth and sixth-round picks to bring in depth players on the offensive line, in the Ryan Bates and Dan Feeney trades. Poles used this year’s seventh-round pick last summer to bring in N’Keal Harry from New England.

Poles got this year’s No. 1 overall pick in the deal that sent last year’s No. 1 overall pick to Carolina. He acquired the No. 122 overall pick from Philadelphia when they swapped places with the Bears last year to draft Jalen Carter. The Bears ended up with Darnell Wright after that move.


First-round pick
Second-round pick
Second-round pick (via Panthers)
Third-round pick
Fourth-round pick
Fifth-round pick
Sixth-round pick
Sixth-round pick (via Dolphins)
Sixth-round pick (via Steelers, can turn into fourth-round pick)

This is the year that Poles’ draft chest not only fills up again, it starts to overflow. As things stand the Bears have two more picks than the typical allotment, and they could add even more from now through the end of the draft.

The second-round pick from Carolina is the final piece of the puzzle from the deal that sent the No. 1 overall pick to the Panthers last year. The Bears got the sixth-round pick from Miami last year in exchange for Chase Claypool and a seventh-rounder. The conditional sixth-round pick from Pittsburgh is the return for Fields.

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