Silvy: Forget the Justin Fields trade. The Bears must get their next QB decision right

Ryan Poles can’t afford to miss on Caleb Williams

USC quarterback Caleb Williams throws during the first half against UCLA in Los Angeles, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023.

It’s pretty simple.

If Caleb Williams (or whichever QB Ryan Poles chooses) is great, nobody will care what the Bears ultimately got for Justin Fields.

If Williams isn’t great, the Bears have bigger issues than this trade anyway.

Winning a trade matters. Winning lots of games matters much more.

And what moving Fields did was about cutting loses on the field and in the trade market.

You took a loss on an individual stock so your entire portfolio can grow.

Instead of zeroing in on the singular trade of Fields, I think the more important deal is what put the Bears in this position to begin with, last year’s Carolina deal. It’s a trade that is already trending as one of the best in Bears history.

All of that for Bryce Young.

Even if we want to logically balance the scales a bit, look at it this way:

The Bears passed on CJ Stroud and traded Fields for Williams, DJ Moore, Darnell Wright, Tyrique Stevenson, Carolina’s 2025 second-round pick, and a conditional 2025 sixth-round pick.

Once again, if Williams hits, Poles worked some magic and that will be the headline, not the compensation for Fields. A franchise-building trade.

And you want to whine about a fourth- or a sixth-round pick for Fields?

Whether you like it or not, Fields was dealt as a backup quarterback. The league spoke and that’s his current value.

It’s a tough pill to swallow for many who have sworn by him the last several months and swore at any of us who didn’t agree.

This doesn’t mean that Fields will forever be a backup. He has a terrific set of skills.

It wasn’t too long ago that the Browns dealt Baker Mayfield in a similar deal to Carolina for a fifth-round pick that could’ve also turned into a fourth. Mayfield disappeared from the NFL landscape only to recapture his early career glory with the Bucs and just signed a $100 million deal.

But before we go crazy with the Fields/Mayfield comps, let’s remember that Mayfield set the rookie record for touchdown passes, breaking a mark Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson held with 27. Mayfield has won playoff games with the Browns and Bucs and this notion that Fields is the only quarterback who was dealt a bad hand?

As a rookie, Mayfield took over a Browns team that lost 19 straight games and his first three head coaches were Hugh Jackson, Gregg Williams and Freddie Kitchens.

While with the Browns, Mayfield was voted the 50th best player on the NFL’s top 100 list.

Fields hasn’t sniffed that type of production in his first three seasons in the league.

Fields can still rebound like Mayfield, but it’s also to say that Fields never elevated the Bears like Mayfield elevated the Browns. Or like some other QBs have done even without the wind at his back. Not even close.

So you can blame Poles all you want for showing his hand at the combine or not waiting longer to make the deal, but what Fields and the Bears needed most was closure.

As I wrote last week, for the sake of everyone, this could not drag on into training camp. What was the point of just “hoping” Fields’ stock would improve while the storyline hovered over the entire franchise like a bad hangover.

Everyone needed to turn the page now, including Fields.

Now, the story becomes how Poles took a team through a tear down in 2022, a build up in 2023 and a possible playoff run in 2024.

There are two star receivers on offense, two good tight ends, a solid backfield and an improving offensive line for a rookie quarterback to be surrounded by.

Plus a defense hungry for takeaways and destined to be one of the top units in the NFC.

Poles has set the table.

But the Bears only feast if the QB thrives.

• Marc Silverman shares his opinions on the Bears weekly for Shaw Local. Tune in and listen to the “Waddle & Silvy” show weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. on ESPN 1000.

Marc Silverman

Marc Silverman

Marc Silverman shares his opinions on the Bears weekly for Shaw Local. Tune in and listen to the Waddle & Silvy show weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m. on ESPN 1000.