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Bears ‘all-in’ on Justin Fields, but here’s how Chicago’s moves compare to the youngest teams with second-year QBs

New Bears general manager Ryan Poles said Friday that the team was “all in” on sophomore quarterback Justin Fields. It’s no wonder, considering Chicago traded just a year ago to pick Ohio State’s No. 11 product overall. But there’s a reason the Poles have had to confirm this: the team’s actions this off-season haven’t necessarily suited the young signal-caller. The new Bears regime will tell you there’s more than one way to build a team and develop a franchise QB, but if you’re still skeptical they’ve built an appropriate supporting cast for Fields in 2022, the recent suggests history indicates that your concerns are valid.

In the past three years, including 2022, there have been 14 instances of young drafted QBs entering their second season with starting experience and as undisputed starters. Regardless of Fields’ own shortcomings as a prospect, there’s a very good chance he’ll start in 2022 with the least assist — and worst-projected offensive lineup — of any 14.

Here’s a look at how his young fellow QBs have been attackingly backed by their respective clubs:

2022

Justin Fields

bears

WR Byron Pringle, WR Calm St Brown, TE Ryan Griffin

WR Velus Jones Jr.

2022

Trevor Lawrence

jaguars

WR Christian Kirk, WR Zay Jones, TE Evan Engram, OG Brandon Scherff

N / A

2022

MacJones

patriots

WR DeVante Parker, OT Trent Brown

OG Cole Strange, WR Tyquan Thornton

2022

Zach Wilson

nozzles

TE CJ Uzomah, TE Tyler Conklin, OG Laken Tomlinson

RB Breece Hall, WR Garrett Wilson

2022

Davis Mills

texan

RB Marlon Mack, WR Chris Conley, C Justin Britt, OG AJ Cann

OG Kenyon Green

2021

Joe Burrow

Bengal

N / A

WR Ja’Marr Chase, OT Jackson Carman

2021

JustinHerbert

Charger

TE Jared Cook, C Corey Linsley, OG Matt Feiler

OT Rashawn Slater, WR Josh Palmer

2021

Tua Tagovailoa

dolphins

WR Will Fuller, C Matt Skura

WR Jaylen Waddle

2021

Jalen hurts

Eagle

N / A

WR DeVonta Smith, OL Landon Dickerson

2020

Daniel Jones

Giants

N / A

OT Andreas Thomas

2020

Kyler Murray

cardinals

WR DeAndre Hopkins

N / A

2020

Dwayne Haskins

Washington

N / A

RB Antonio Gibson, WR Antonio Gandy-Golden

2020

Drew Lock

Broncos

RB Melvin Gordon, OG Graham Glasgow

WR Jerry Jeudy, WR KJ Hamler, C Lloyd Cushenberry

2020

Gardner Minshew

jaguars

RB Chris Thompson, TE Tyler Eifert

WR Laviska Shenault

We’re not comparing apples to apples here. Because these moves are purely offensive, they don’t account for justified investments on the other side of the ball; Chicago, for example, added two enticing additions to its defense in Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker via this year’s draft, much as the 2020 Giants went strong on defense as Daniel Jones’ sophomore. Some teams’ additions may seem only marginally more impressive than the Bears’; The Patriots, for example, don’t necessarily get rave reviews for making DeVante Parker Mac Jones’ “brilliant new weapon.”

However, this is where the context of each team’s supporting cast comes into play. The Patriots also have Damien Harris, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and Hunter Henry as starters in the skill positions. The Bengals lined up in 2021 with Burrow to pitch not only Chase but also Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and CJ Uzomah. The Chargers lineup already included Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. The Eagles had Miles Sanders, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and a Super Bowl proven offensive line. The Cardinals already had Kenyan Drake, Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk when they added Hopkins in 2020.

The Bears? Their projected offensive lineup for Fields’ second season is as follows: RB David Montgomery, WR Darnell Mooney, WR Byron Pringle, WR Velus Jones Jr., TE Cole Kmet, LT Teven Jenkins, LG Cody Whitehair, C Lucas Patrick, RG Dakota Dozier , RT Larry Borom. Perhaps it will be an improvement on their 2021 squad, which ended 6-11 as the Matt Nagy regime stuttered to the finish line. Perhaps new coordinator Luke will allow Getsy Fields to use his dual-threat athletics. Perhaps new coach Matt Eberflus will keep the defense strong. But it’s awfully hard to look at the guys right around Fields and think the Bears a.) are serious about putting the QB in the best position for 2022, or b.) even came close.

It’s not a question of money either; The Bears currently own more than $16 million in salary caps, with a projected $117.6 million available for 2023, leading the league. That could mean that Poland and co. are simply preparing for a Jets- or Jaguars-level spending spree in the next off-season. By then, however, they will be halfway through Fields’ rookie deal – and a year closer to the deadline for exercising the QB’s fifth-year option.

It’s possible Fields’ own talent will lift the Bears beyond expectations in 2022. It’s possible (but unlikely) that Chicago has a blockbuster addition up its sleeve. It is possible that they are still competitive for other reasons. But when Bears fans complain that their team didn’t properly help their young star QB make a step forward, let them. In the end, both the QB and the supporting cast must help transform the man under the middle from the hopeful to the confirmed face of the franchise. It’s safe to say that Fields has a bigger job to do than some of his peers at this point in making that leap.

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/bears-all-in-on-justin-fields-but-heres-how-chicagos-moves-compare-to-recent-teams-with-second-year-qbs/ Bears ‘all-in’ on Justin Fields, but here’s how Chicago’s moves compare to the youngest teams with second-year QBs

Justin Scacco

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