Bears reportedly trade Justin Fields to Steelers, clearing the way for likely No. 1 pick QB Caleb Williams

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 07: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears looks on after the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 07, 2024 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears have the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and they’re going to use it.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bears are trading quarterback Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft. The pick could reportedly become a fourth-round pick depending on playing time.

The Bears trading their starting quarterback is the clearest signal possible that they plan to use their No. 1 overall draft pick on a quarterback. USC quarterback Caleb Williams is widely expected to be the first pick.

Some of the Bears’ decision can be chalked up to Williams’ skills and strength as a field marshal, but Fields’ time with the Bears had a lot to do with it as well. He struggled over two-plus years as a starter, accruing a 10-28 record and breaking 200 yards passing in only 13 games.

There’s no question Fields was affected by the coaching in Chicago. Head coach Matt Eberflus couldn’t seem to figure out what to do with Fields on a weekly basis, consistently trying to get Fields to do things that aren’t his strengths. Near the end of the duo’s first season as a head coach/starting QB duo in 2022, Fields broke out, looking like a video game character as the Bears allowed him to use his legs more. That late-season surge had fans feeling hopeful and positive about their starting QB for the first time in years.

Yet in 2023 Eberflus went away from what worked, leading to widespread frustration. Fields wasn’t nearly as mobile as he should have been, and it stifled the Bears’ offense. And Fields didn’t seem to know why it was happening any more than fans did. At one point during the season, he called out the coaching staff for being in his ear too often, giving him information that he didn’t feel was helpful or that took him further away from his strengths. Fields said that in late September, and from then on it only became more obvious that Fields and the Bears were not a good fit.

There were some positive moments for the team down the stretch, including victories against the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, but the Fields question became only more urgent. Keep him and trade the No. 1 overall pick, or trade him and draft a franchise QB at No. 1 overall?

The Bears have chosen door No. 2. They’ve shipped Fields out for a hefty return and will use that No. 1 pick to give their franchise another new face.

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