Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears traded Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a conditional 6th-round pick in 2025 this past weekend.

The conditional 6th-round pick can turn into a 4th-rounder if Fields plays 51% of Pittsburgh’s offensive plays this season. However, given the signing of Russell Wilson, who has already been named the starter – Fields meeting the snap requirement seems unlikely.

When reading the announcement from Ian Rapaport, immediate frustration came over. A conditional…6th round pick? 6th? S-I-X? These past months of debate and rumors of whether Justin Fields could potentially be worth a first-round pick, but more than likely a second-round pick, completely down the drain. Free agency came, the QB dominoes around the league began to fall, and day-by-day, the value for Justin Fields decimated down to a bag of potato chips.

It seemed as if Ryan Poles had overplayed his hand, however, an interesting report came from Ian Rapoport on Sunday:

“Important note on the Justin Fields trade: At least four additional teams inquired about trading for Fields, but Fields’ representation asked for him not to be traded there. He wanted the Steelers, and the Bears did right by him.”

While what the other teams offered is unknown, it’s clear that Ryan Poles took less compensation so that he could do right by Justin and honor his wish to be sent to Pittsburgh—an incredibly classy move, going above and beyond what is expected of any GM. We often forget that these guys are human beings – having to completely move your life to a new city within 48 hours is not exactly an easy process that these guys must go through. How Ryan Poles handled Justin Fields will be respected by players throughout the league, making the organization an even more attractive destination.

The Justin Fields era in Chicago will be remembered by the what-ifs. A GM and head coach, both in the final year of their contracts, were allowed to trade a future first-round pick they had no ownership over to move up and draft an incredibly talented QB out of Ohio State University. Going from guys like Mike Glennon and Nick Foles to Justin Fields had the entire fanbase excited. The flashy, highlight-reel athleticism is not something the Bears have ever had at the QB position before in the franchise’s history.


At the end of the day, the results just weren’t there. Yes, we can argue the conditions that Fields was put under, hence the what-ifs. But with a record of 10-28, at most throwing for 2500 yards in a season and only having one 300+ passing yard game – it wasn’t good enough.

The flashes, while mesmerizing, were too short in length. There wasn’t ever a full game from Justin that you could sit back and say, “That was clean, composed, took care of business, and now let’s move on to next week.” Even against the Washington Commanders on Monday Night Football, arguably Fields’ best game of his career with 282 yards and 4 touchdowns in a 40-20 victory – he was 15/29, with multiple mistakes. In 2018, back before Tom Brady decided to play charity and win a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay for funsies, the Buccaneers were not a good football team. At home, while playing against an inferior opponent, Mitch Trubisky did what you were supposed to do – which was absolutely cooked their ass for 354 yards and 6 TDs. Justin was unable ever to put together a full game like that. If there’s anyone who can get it out of him, though, it’s Mike Tomlin.

With the Fields era officially over, Ryan Poles and the Bears look ahead to drafting their new QB (presumably Caleb Williams) with the first overall pick.


Photo: Getty Images

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