Bears WR DJ Moore Advocates for Justin Fields: What’s Next for the Chicago QB Situation?

Bears WR DJ Moore Advocates for Justin Fields: What’s Next for the Chicago QB Situation?

‘I’m a big advocate for Justin’: DJ Moore on Bears QB situation

Bears wide receiver DJ Moore advocates for Justin Fields over Caleb Williams.

Sports Seriously

The preeminent storyline surrounding the Chicago Bears is whether they should keep or trade quarterback Justin Fields. Chicago owns the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft by virtue of a 2023 trade with Carolina Panthers. The Bears are in prime position to land the top quarterback prospect in this year’s draft, Caleb Williams, but selecting a quarterback may mark the end to the Fields era in Chicago.

Fields is entering the final year of his rookie contract and Chicago has until May to exercise the quarterback’s his fifth-year option. However, the Bears will likely make a decision on Fields’ future before the May deadline. General Manager Ryan Poles said he wants to “do right” by Fields and understands “no one wants to live in the gray” area.

Multiple people connected to the NFL believe the Bears are probably going to keep the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. If the Bears stay put at No. 1, they’ll presumably use the pick on a quarterback. So, what does that mean for Fields’ fate?

A person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports that the Atlanta Falcons, Pittsburgh Steelers and Las Vegas Raiders have expressed some level of interest in Fields. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.

USA TODAY Sports explores each of the three possible landing spots for Fields:

Justin Fields landing spots

Atlanta Falcons

Lackluster quarterback play hindered the Falcons as they finished the 2023 campaign 7-10, which is one of the reasons the franchise made significant coaching changes.

New Falcons coach Raheem Morris recently hired Zac Robinson as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, and Morris and Robinson both worked under Sean McVay with the Los Angeles Rams. Coaches customarily like to bring in “their guy” at quarterback instead of inheriting a QB already on the roster.

Atlanta has a lot of untapped potential on offense with the likes of RB Bijan Robinson, WR Drake London and TE Kyle Pitts. Each of the three had over 600 yards from scrimmage last season, but there is still meat on the bone in Atlanta.

“They have a lot of playmakers,” Fields said about the Falcons on the “St. Brown brothers’ podcast.”

Fields and Robinson running the read option would cause opposing defenses fits. Fields is only the third quarterback in NFL history to reach 2,000 rushing yards in his first three seasons and Robinson had 30 carries of at least 10 yards in his rookie campaign playing without a mobile QB.

Fields is from nearby Kennesaw, Ga., so a potential transition to the Atlanta area would be rather seamless.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers hired former ex-Falcons head coach Arthur Smith as their offensive coordinator. Smith has familiarity coaching mobile quarterbacks. When Smith was the Titans offensive coordinator, he coached Ryan Tannehill to his lone Pro Bowl season, and Tannehill set a career high in rushing TDs in 2020 (seven).

Kenny Pickett is the only Steelers QB under contract in 2024. The Steelers are likely to search externally for additional quarterback options. Fields’ 82.3 career passer rating is more superior than Pickett’s 78.8 career passer rating. Fields would also bring a rushing element at QB.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he expects the team to have competition atop the quarterback depth chart next season.

“There will be competition there,” Tomlin said at his end-of-year press conference. “There’s always competition in this thing. We don’t anoint anyone.”

Pittsburgh had the worst offense in the AFC North last season and ranked 28th in the NFL in scoring.

Fields mobility and ability to create oft-scripts plays would work well in Smith’s offense. The threat of Fields running, would also open the field up more for pass catchers Diontae Johnson, George Pickens and Pat Freiermuth.

Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas appears ready to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo, who is suspended for the first two games in 2024 for violating the NFL’s performance enhancing substances policy.

The Raiders started three different quarterbacks in 2023. The offense had an AFC West-high 18 interceptions and finished as the third worst rushing attack in the NFL.

Aidan O’Connell showed some promise in 10 starts last season and finished the year at the top of the depth chart, but leaves a lot to be desired at the position.

The Raiders have the No. 13 pick in the first round of the 2024 draft, which will likely take them out of the running of the top three quarterbacks available in this year’s draft class.

A trade for a quarterback like Fields could be a viable option.

“The wildcard is the quarterback,” Raiders coach Antonio Pierce said recently on “The Pivot Podcast.

“What are we going to do? Well, we’ve got to put a plan together.”

Like Atlanta, Pierce and new general manager Tom Telesco might want a fresh start at quarterback, especially in a division with three-time Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes and the likes of Justin Herbert.

Fields has never played with a wide receivers who runs routes as crisp and creates separation like Davante Adams. Opposing defenses would have a difficult time covering Adams while Fields buys more time with his legs.

Raiders offensive coordinator Luke Getsy has familiarity with Fields. Getsy was Fields’ offensive coordinator in Chicago from 2022-2023. The experience between the two should make it a seamless transition in Las Vegas.

Could Justin Fields remain in Chicago?

Fields caused a stir when he unfollowed the Bears on social media. Was he anticipating a move? The quarterback recently downplayed the notion that he wants to leave Chicago.

“Of course, I want to stay,” Fields said on the St. Brown brothers’ podcast. “I can’t see myself playing in another place. If it were up to me, I would want to stay in Chicago. I love the city. The city is lit, the fans there they are great. It’s a business. I don’t have no control over it.”

Fields has a 10-28 record in three seasons with the Bears. Fields is eligible to have his fifth-year option picked up and a contract extension if he stays in Chicago.

The Bears haven’t had a winning record since the 2018 season, when Fields was a true freshman at Georgia.

Other NFL rumors: Justin Jefferson, the Chargers’ cap and more

Chiefs DT Chris Jones

Chris Jones agreed to a one-year, incentive-laden deal after a holdout in 2023. There’s motivation and a desire for Jones and the Chiefs to get a deal worked out long before it gets to the point of another holdout if he gets placed under the franchise tag. The franchise tag window is open now and ends March 5.

“For those that want Chris Jones gone, I ain’t going nowhere, baby. I will be here next year and the year after,” Jones said at Kansas City’s Super Bowl 58 parade.

Ravens DL Justin Madubuike

Justin Madubuike is on an expiring deal. The rumor is the Ravens are going to keep Madubuike in Baltimore after he posted a career-high 13 sacks, the most among interior lineman, in 2023. The bigger question is whether the Ravens are going to place him under the franchise tag or sign him to a long-term extension. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said at the NFL scouting combine that the team will place Madubuike under the franchise tag if they don’t reach agreement on a long-term contract by the March 5 deadline.

Justin Jefferson staying in Minnesota?

The expectation of many NFL insiders is that the Vikings and star wide receiver Justin Jefferson will get a long-term deal done at some point. Jefferson is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He’s slated to make over $19.7 million in 2024. Jefferson’s next contract could make him the highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL.

Chargers likely to part ways with at least one key player

The Chargers are currently around $25 million over cap, per Over The Cap. Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa or Khalil Mack could become cap casualties. The Chargers will likely have to trade or cut one or two of the four prominent players because each of them carry cap numbers that exceed $30 million in 2024.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Tyler Dragon on X @TheTylerDragon.

2024-02-27 18:29:45
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