Justin Fields

Report: Matt Eberflus defended Justin Fields in OC interviews

But does it mean anything?

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The Bears have been able to take some victory laps this week as word got out that they hired Shane Waldron to take over for Luke Getsy as the team’s offensive coordinator. Waldron was seen as one of the best OC candidates on the market this year, and the expectation was he’d have several opportunities to consider.

The Bears do offer one of the most enticing opportunities in the league: the chance to help select then coach the No. 1 overall pick in the draft is pretty tempting. But in a story published on Tuesday, Albert Breer reported that Bears head coach Matt Eberflus kept Justin Fields in his pitch to potential OCs.

“Eberflus did defend Justin Fields in the interviews, as I understand it,” Breer said.

Some have taken that sentence as a sign that the Bears may be leaning towards trading away the No. 1 overall pick and retaining Fields. Really, there’s not much we can glean from the line without knowing the real nature of the conversations.

Further, it wouldn’t make much sense for the Bears to start talking poorly about their QB, regardless of what they truly think of him. If they’re trying to entice an offensive coordinator it would make the most sense to pump up the QB who’s already on the roster, rather than close a door prematurely.

The Bears almost certainly have not made up their minds about who they want to play quarterback next season, yet. GM Ryan Poles and Eberflus have each said on several occasions how much they value the character of a player when they make their evaluations. The bulk of that character assessment work comes when teams have the opportunity to meet with players as part of their top-30 visits, beginning on March 7 and continuing through the middle of April. So it should come as no surprise that Poles said earlier this month that his QB decision might not come until the beginning of April.

Let’s say the Bears have already made their mind up about Fields, and are really just deciding between Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or another prospect. Then they’ll want to trade Fields sometime before or maybe even during the draft. And if they want to do that, they’d only hurt themselves by bashing him. Word would get out that they were done with Fields (just as word got out they’re defending him) and it would ruin potential trade talk leverage.

It’s just January. The draft doesn’t start until the end of April. A lot is going to be said between now and then, and the challenge will be sifting through typical GM talk, and real nuggets of information.

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