NFL insider explains why the Bears haven’t traded Justin Fields yet, and might not

The latest twist in the Fields saga is a weird one.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages

The Justin Fields saga is getting weird.

When the season ended, there were rumors that Fields could possibly command a low first round pick. While he hasn't been the polished quarterback that teams are looking for in a fourth-year player, Fields' talent is indeniable, and he's had some of the most electric moments of the NFL season during his time in Chicago.

But when the Bears wound up with the first overall pick for the 2nd year in a row, it became (at least somewhat) obvious that Chicago was destined to move on and take Caleb Williams. When a trade didn't happen immediately, reports started surfacing that his market was cooling, and that NFL teams weren't particularly sold on the idea that he could still develop into a bonafide starter. And then, one by one, all the obvious trade candidates went in different directions – Atlanta signed Kirk Cousins, Pittsburgh signed Russell Wilson, and Las Vegas decided to give Gardner Minshew $25 million.

Now, for the time being at least, it seems like there isn't really much of a market at all for Fields – at least as a starter. On Tuesday afternoon, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport explained what exactly is going on in Chicago:

"So here's what the Bears are doing right now," he said. "I know a lot of talk has been about Justin Fields. This is not a Justin Fields discussion. This is a Caleb Williams, number one overall pick discussion. What the Chicago Bears have been committed to doing the entire time is fully evaluating the quarterbacks they could take at number one, including Caleb Williams. They were at the combine, they met with him there. They're going to be in full force at Caleb Williams' pro day a week from tomorrow. They're going to have him at their facility to visit with him. They're going to do a full evaluation. At the point where they are then settled on taking Caleb Williams number one, which we expect, but we don't know for sure because this is too important of a decision to go, 'Yeah, OK, we'll just take this guy and trade the other guy.' Until all that, they're going to do the full evaluation ... at that point, they will then move to say, 'Where are we going to trade Justin Fields?' Might this happen leading up to the Draft? Sure, it could ... Just because they're not actively shopping him, doesn't really mean anything as it pertains to Justin Fields."

This could be looked at one of two ways. First, nothing Rapoport saying is outrageous. It stands to reason that the Bears haven't quite made up their mind fully, and are waiting to get a half dozen or so more hours of face-to-face time with Williams (and any other QB prospect, I guess) before they decide to make the move. That's good due dilligence. On the other hand, if one wanted to, they could easily read this as damage control from a team that overplayed their hand and watched as the market for their guy collapsed. The Bears aren't going to leak that nobody wants Fields, so pretending to take their ball and go home wouldn't be the most surprising move in the world. Either way, it sounds like the timeline for a Fields trade is now way closer to the draft than anyone first imagined.