If the Chicago Bears have a Top 2 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, chances are strong that I’ll advocate for a move at quarterback this offseason. Why? Because I love what both Drake Maye & Caleb Williams have put on tape.
I think they’re the kinds of quarterbacks you wait years to draft, each squarely in the realm of Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence. Both are cuts above your standard prospect, but through overuse of the word “generational” many have recently begun to view both Williams and Maye as “Overhyped”, “Not That Good”, and all kinds of other derogatory phrases.
Let’s set the record straight: Drake Maye has one of the gaudiest arms on the planet. Not only can he make any throw on the football field, he does make every throw on a week to week basis. Caleb Williams, on the other hand, processes the game at an outstanding level while consistently showing off a sublime combination pocket movement, arm talent, and awareness that allows him to make plays that other QBs truly can’t dream of making.
If the Bears have the option to take one of these two players, I want them to go for it. I think these players are worth it.
But, and here’s the key point I’m trying to make, wanting Chicago to draft a QB if given the chance doesn’t mean “Robert hates Justin Fields” — Fields is a Top 20 QB & a bona-fide starter, but he’s also a limited passer that takes a ton of hits & needs an offense to cater to him more than his peers do. He’s a dynamic runner, but we’ve seen most running QBs struggle to sustain rushing (while staying healthy) over the course of a 17-game season.
Too many have made this quarterback conversation obnoxiously black and white — it’s devolved into split sides shouting “Well actually Caleb & Drake suck” or “Fields can’t play”… but neither statement is true. The kids are good, and Justin Fields has played well enough in Chicago to become a topic of trade conversations around the league. Regardless of what you prefer the Bears do at quarterback this offseason, neither answer is objectively bad & neither side needs to be treated as such.
I personally think the Bears have the opportunity to build an ideal landing spot for a rookie QB. Exciting WRs, a talented young OL, and a proven safety valve TE should make up a strong supporting cast. Drafting any QB this high is risky, but I think these rookies are worth the risk involved in moving on from Justin — especially since sticking with Justin is no sure thing either.
But despite my personal preference, it’s also possible that the Bears could build such a strong team around Justin that not winning more games would be nearly impossible. I personally think this team would struggle to keep the QB healthy (Fields’ average time to throw went up against a blitz-heavy team in Minnesota) and would eventually face defenses they don’t have answers for on offense, but until the Bears line up, play, and lose those games there’s no sense treating a Fields-led unit as if it’s doomed to fail.
A Fields-led 2024-2025 team has a better shot of winning 9-10 games & making the playoffs each year than drafting a rookie QB does — if that’s the direction Chicago goes, it’ll be the best pair of seasons they’ve had since 2005 & 2006. It’s been that long since Chicago won 9+ games in consecutive years — this result would not be “bad”.
But I also think the opportunity Caleb Williams & Drake Maye present gives Chicago a better shot at becoming a Super Bowl contender than sticking with Fields does. Explaining why each quarterback excites me so much will take full scouting reports, so we’ll save that for the offseason — but the prospects’ talent & the opportunity to reset the rookie contract clock (allowing Chicago to pay for an extra pair of Free Agents) allows Chicago to build a team that can compete with (and beat) the Chiefs, Ravens, and 49ers by 2025.
Regardless of which ‘side’ you’re on, I think that’s an exciting thing to talk about.
Nick and I recorded a podcast where we talked through Justin Fields in much greater detail — his strengths, his weaknesses, what we should expect to see him improve on, and where we think he’s likely done growing. Check it out here:
Your Turn: How do you feel about Chicago’s signal-caller?