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REPORT: Disgruntled Chicago Bears locker room caused Ryan Poles to panic on Justin Fields trade

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Jaquan Brisker at Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson said last week he believed the locker room was “mature” enough to rally together if general manager Ryan Poles chose to trade Justin Fields this offseason.

The Bears reportedly were thought to be too immature to handle Fields staying if they chose to draft a quarterback with the No. 1 pick.

Let’s unpack a few major bulletin points about the Steelers/Bears trade.

The Chicago Bears locker room had Ryan Poles pull the trigger early

NFL: Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
Dec 17, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku (85) holds the ball up from his touchdown reception in the end zone under coverage by Chicago Bears safety Jaquan Brisker (9) during the second quarter at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Multiple reports surfaced Monday morning indicating Poles pulled the trigger to trade Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a worse return than he could get after the draft or closer to the start of the regular season because of the toll it would take on players in the Bears locker room.

Per Dan Graziano with ESPN, Poles didn’t carry around a good poker face early this offseason about the Bears’ plan to trade Fields and draft a quarterback in April. Graziano hints that the Bears wanted to keep away from awkwardness in the Bears locker room:

ESPN‘s Courtney Cronin backs up Graziano’s sentiment. She notes that Poles was looking for a Day 2 pick plus a conditional late 2025 pick for Fields but settled for the latter in part because of characters in the locker room:

Several Bears players, including safety Jaquan Brisker, appeared upset about the Fields’ trade to the Steelers when they published their posts on social media Saturday night. Poles knew he couldn’t wait for Fields’ value to rise in May or August because of outbursts like what you saw on public forums Saturday night. The situation would have been worse behind closed doors.

Ryan Poles waited too long to pull the trigger

NFL: Preseason Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears
Aug 12, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) talks with players after a game against the Tennessee Titans at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Graziano and Cronin both state the Bears could have traded for better draft compensation before Saturday night. Per Graziano, the Bears kept their asking price for Fields too high early in the process:

Cronin states that six teams gave the Bears a trade offer for Fields. Again, while she states that most of those teams saw Fields as a backup, not all of them did. So, the Bears did have an opportunity to trade Fields to a team where he could have been a starting quarterback for the 2024 season.

Some good news for Justin Fields and the Bears’ conditional pick

NFL: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Jan 7, 2024; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears need Fields to play in 51 percent of the Steelers’ offensive snaps for the 2024 regular season in order for the 2025 sixth-round pick to turn into a 2025 fourth-round pick. Per Jeff Howe with The Athletic, the New York Giants met with Russell Wilson last week but did not offer him a starting job.

Wilson isn’t seen as a lock to be a starting quarterback in the league. In fact, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t sold on Wilson being a starter before last Monday. Per Albert Breer with Sports Illustrated, the Steelers planned to have Pickett compete with Wilson for the starting job. However, Wilson was to get the first-team reps this spring:

This means a couple of things for the Fields and Bears. On the truth about Fields’ value in the league, the league appears to value Pickett over Fields. Tomlin has named Wilson the starter for the 2024 season, and the Steelers have put out word that they are interested in extending Wilson next offseason.

However, the report also means Wilson isn’t a lock to be the starter for the entirety of the 2024 season. Essentially, the Steelers added two backups to their roster last week. Wilson could easily fall out of favor with Tomlin if he struggles in September or October and Fields balls out in the preseason.

For More Chicago Sports:

Follow me on Twitter at @JordanSig, and follow us @ChiCitySports23. You can also reach out to Jordan Sigler via email at [email protected]. To read more of our articles and keep up to date on the latest in ALL of Chicago sports, click here! Chicago Bears, Chicago Bulls, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Blackhawks.


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