In a surprising turn of events, the Chicago Bears find themselves in a familiar position, contemplating the selection of a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, just a year after trading away the same pick.
The Bears traded the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft and the eventual rights to Bryce Young, leading to the Panthers’ pick becoming the top overall selection once again.
Chicago now faces a pivotal decision with their No. 1 overall pick: After a season marked by glimpses of improvement, particularly from their young quarterback Justin Fields, the Bears are at a crossroads. While Fields has shown promise, the team must decide whether to build on his momentum or explore other options. The NFC North franchise could opt to retain Fields and either select the best non-quarterback at No. 1 or trade out of the pick for the second consecutive year. The defense, bolstered by the acquisition of Montez Sweat, has displayed promise, and if the offense can catch up, the Bears could make significant strides in the open NFC. Ending the season with five wins in their last eight games has added weight to this decision.
Complicating matters, Fields was not drafted by the current general manager, Ryan Poles, or head coach, Matt Eberflus. Drafted at No. 11 overall, Fields is approaching the end of his third season, having completed 60% of his rookie contract, assuming the fifth-year option is exercised.
Fields’ NFL journey has been marked by flashes of brilliance but also inconsistency, magnified by his recent month-long injury absence. With the quarterback and the team assessing their long-term compatibility, the question arises: if Fields’ status as a long-term starter remains uncertain, should the Bears consider drafting another rookie quarterback with five cost-controlled years? Fields’ improved performance in the latter half of the season could enhance his trade value, introducing the possibility of a significant return in the event of a trade.
The fear among Bears fans is the potential regret of trading Fields, who could find success elsewhere, while their new quarterback may not meet expectations. It’s undoubtedly a gamble.
The ultimate decision rests on how Chicago’s leadership perceives Fields and the available quarterback prospects. Without clarity on their evaluation, it remains uncertain if the Bears will stick with Fields or explore alternative directions, especially if a clear upgrade at the quarterback position presents itself.