Bears GM says he tried to help Justin Fields with Steelers trade
Bears GM says he tried to help Justin Fields with Steelers trade

ORLANDO, Fla. — Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles expected a more stable market for Justin Fields before the team traded the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback.

“I was a little surprised,” Poles said at Monday’s NFL meeting. “But as you’re doing research and we’re having conversations, you have to adjust to the market. But I think just with how the other teams are built, because if you look at the beginning, there are probably teams looking at the draft for guys to fill out. On the back end, playoff teams likely have someone in place. So it was really a smaller pool of teams.”

Chicago received a conditional 2025 sixth-round pick that could become a fourth-rounder if Fields plays 51 percent of Pittsburgh’s offensive snaps this season. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Sunday that quarterback Russell Wilson is in “half position” to be the starter, but said Fields “will have an opportunity to compete” when the time is right.

The Bears were initially looking at a Day 2 draft selection plus a late conditional pick in 2025, a source familiar with the team’s plans told ESPN. Six teams, including Pittsburgh, came in with various offers, with most envisioning Fields as a backup option.

Poles said Monday that the Bears have received offers from teams other than Pittsburgh, but he believes the opportunity to send Fields to a place with a clearer path to compete has been taken away from the 25-year-old.

“They have a starter with Russ, but there was more of an open competition, I felt like from my point of view, where there were other options, where there were some defensemen who were either veterans or young guys who were already paid, so we’ll have been a more difficult situation for him to get on the field,” Poles said.

Poles and Bears coach Matt Eberfluss called Fields from Eberfluss’ home to inform the quarterback that he had been traded on March 16. Fields struck a positive tone, according to the Poles, who called the decision to trade the quarterback before his fourth season “one of the more difficult things I’ve had to do.”

“I always touch on the empathy part; having this conversation with yourself [son] it was tough,” Poles said.[Fields’] the shirt is upstairs in his room. So that kind of puts it into perspective how hard these moves are. But I really felt it was the best for our organization and the best for Justin. I said this at the combine: I wanted to deal with him. We did that. We had a really good conversation.”

The Bears are set to select Fields’ replacement with the No. 1 overall pick next month. After spending a few days with USC’s Caleb Williams in Los Angeles last week ahead of the presumptive top pick’s pro day, the Poles came away impressed with the quarterback’s “maturity” and how he’s perceived by his coaches and teammates in the college.

“When you talk to his teammates, they don’t like him, they love him,” Poles said. “His leadership, how he brings people together. He is purposeful with his leadership. The same goes for the staff. It’s hard for me to find a person who doesn’t like him or even love him and think he can reach the highest limits. The feedback is good.”

The Poles will travel from Orlando to LSU’s pro day on Wednesday to watch quarterback Jaden Daniels, who is expected to be a top-3 pick in the draft, before flying back to Chicago. The GM won’t be in attendance to watch Drake May at UNC’s pro day Thursday, but said the Bears will be represented by quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph and several scouting executives.

The Bears plan to take Williams on a top-30 visit the first week of April, when they will gather his medicals. Williams chose not to release the information to all 32 NFL franchises last month, saying he would provide it during visits to several teams.

“I’ve done that over the years when guys came in,” Poles said when asked what he hopes to glean from Williams’ visit to Halas Hall. “You can really do some installs, take a break and then install them back at you just in terms of summoning. Build relationships with coaches. Make sure there’s compatibility there.”

By admin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *