Here are the three teams Justin Fields wanted to go to besides Pittsburgh: report


Here are the three teams Justin Fields wanted to go to besides Pittsburgh: report originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

At the NFL Scouting Combine, Bears general manager Ryan Poles told the media he wanted to “do right by” Justin Fields, in the event the organization decided to trade him elsewhere in favor of a new quarterback.

That meant one of two things. First, it meant moving Fields as soon as possible, preferably before the start of NFL free agency on March 13. Second, it meant giving Fields the chance to pick his next spot, where it would be most beneficial for his development.

Poles, in essence, checked both of those boxes. He traded Fields three days after the start of free agency on March 16. And he traded Fields to the Steelers, one of his four preferred destinations, for a compromised return of a 2025 conditional sixth-round pick.

Where else did Fields want to play?

“The Steelers were one of four teams on Fields’ radar prior to the start of free agency, along with the Vikings, Raiders and Falcons, a source familiar with Fields’ thinking said,” ESPN’s Brooke Pryor wrote on Friday.

According to the report, Fields “thought highly of Tomlin,” who hasn’t coached worse than a .500 season with the Steelers in 17 seasons as their head coach. There, he will play understudy to Russell Wilson but have the chance to learn and develop further.

The Vikings lost Kirk Cousins in free agency, opening up their starting quarterback spot this offseason. It makes sense he wasn’t traded there considering the Bears would then have to face Fields twice per year.

Fields’ former offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy, is now the offensive coordinator for the Raiders. They’re still in search of a new signal caller, despite having added Gardner Minshew this offseason. Some thought Getsy’s presence would mean crossing the Raiders off the list since that duo didn’t perform up to standard together last season.

The Falcons were the team most attached to Fields this offseason, as he’s a Georgia native. League sources told NBC Sports Chicago’s Josh Schrock the Falcons checked in with the Bears about Fields around the NFL Combine. In the end, they were able to persuade Cousins to make the lateral from Minnesota to Atlanta.

Kenny Pickett’s insistence to be moved to the Eagles opened up a spot for Fields to back Wilson. According to the report, the Bears had “at least one better offer from a team with an established quarterback starter,” but they compromised to send Fields to his preferred destination.

It was a respectful move for Poles, who will almost certainly replace Fields with USC’s Caleb Williams as the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Poles could’ve waited past the draft and into training camp to maximize Fields’ trade value. But he opted for the high road, putting the fourth-year quarterback in the best position possible.

This isn’t the end of Fields’ story, either. He will likely play understudy to Wilson this season, but he’s only on a one-year deal. The Steelers must decide on Fields’ fifth-year option by May 2; either way, they can re-sign him, should they please.

Some think Fields will outperform Wilson right away and earn the starting role. Either way, Fields is effectively insurance for the Steelers, should they become displeased with Wilson as their starting signal caller.

So while Fields might not take over right away, the Steelers know what they have in him.

“Rest assured when it’s time to compete, Justin will be given an opportunity to compete,” Tomlin said at the owner’s meetings in Orlando. “And we’ll allow those guys to sort themselves out.”

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