The past year has been strange for all of us. Between having to work from home, handling remote learning for the kids, figuring out how to wear a mask and glasses at the same time and not letting the latter fog up, this year has been one of uncomfortable situations that we never could have foreseen or anticipated — not to mention the previously unfathomable death and destruction experienced across the country and world, of course.
However, on Thursday, April 29, 2021 at 9:44 p.m. ET, perhaps the most unforeseen event of the pandemic occurred, the Chicago Bears drafted former Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields with the No. 11 pick in the NFL Draft. Yes, the same Justin Fields who we have been told over the past two to three months was not intelligent enough to diagnose defenses or throw beyond his first read; the same Justin Fields who we have been led to believe doesn’t care enough about football to be an elite NFL quarterback; the same Justin Fields that “unnamed sources” whispered had maturity issues that would prevent him from leading a professional football team.
Despite all of these obvious, unequivocal facts, head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace decided to open the Pandora’s box that is the lazy malcontent Justin Fields and to pay him millions and millions of dollars to be the cornerstone of the franchise’s future.
It is a bold move, and one that is obviously incredibly risky. I mean, yes, he threw for 5,373 yards in two seasons as Ohio State’s QB. Yes, I understand that he threw 67 career touchdowns to just 9 interceptions and that he led the Buckeyes to back-to-back College Football Playoff berths. But that stuff isn’t what really matters to NFL teams; what’s truly important is what the same sources who funneled info to that boat guy last fall about the Big Ten’s COVID plans are telling semi-literate, C-level sports reporters and analysts on condition of anonymity, because they know that what they are saying is complete bullshit and they don’t want it to be traced back to them when it’s proven remarkably, and demonstrably, inaccurate. That’s the good stuff. That’s what really moves the needle with NFL front offices. That’s the intel that multi-billion dollar organizations value in making multi-million dollar decisions.
Personally, given all of the unattributed quotes about Fields’ maturity, I am shocked that a professional sports team would sign him to a contract worth that much money. We know — again based on unconfirmed, unsigned reports — that Fields probably shouldn’t be trusted with that much money. Not only will he probably spend it all on childish things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figures and vegan candy, but honestly, giving that much money to Fields feels like it could be putting the entire Chicagoland community in danger of his unabashed hooliganism.
Think of all the spray paint cans that he can buy to tag local walls and overpasses? What if he buys a motorcycle and burns rubber in the neighborhood cul-de-sac? I don’t know about you, but if I lived in the Windy City, I would personally be holding Nagy and Pace responsible for any property damage that Fields will inevitably inflict upon my community.
I mean, just because he was elected a captain of the national championship runner up last fall and led the charge to get the B1G back on the field doesn’t mean that he is either mature or a leader. What actually happens in the real world doesn’t truly tell you how much of a leader someone is. Throughout the annuls of history, the one true barometer of leadership has always been what people who were too afraid to speak on the record say about your character. Trust me, I know, I was a history major for my first two years of college.
But, if the Bears were willing to overlook the maturity and leadership issues that Fields so obviously suffers from, how could they — in good conscience — draft a player as mentally deficient as Fields? I mean, we’ve been told by so many analysts who didn’t watch a single OSU snap this season or speak to a single Ohio State coach that he has the functional IQ of a toddler, despite receiving his first collegiate offer from Harvard. I personally don’t know how he could even be expected to tie his own shoes, let alone diagnose a defense or fully comprehend an offensive gameplan.
Now, I know that you are going to bring up the report that came out just an hour or so before the draft started that Fields had an impressively high cognitive score in the test administered by the NFL during draft preparations. But, come on, you’re smarter than that (and than Fields); the person reporting that “fact” is admitted Ohio State fan MMQB’s Albert Breer. So, we can just dismiss that out of hand. Besides, Breer actually put his name on that report. How can you possibly trust someone willing to stick by the things that they say?
Fun nugget: Ohio State QB Justin Fields scored at a very high level on the @S2Cognition test used by NFL teams to measure processing traits, per sources. Fields' score ("extremely high", per one GM) was comparable to Joe Burrow's from last spring.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 29, 2021
One piece to a big puzzle.
And even if you believe that your coaching staff can install a functional offense using just legos and Sesame Street stuffed animals, what gives the Bears the confidence to believe that Fields is going to care enough to put in the time to learn which route Grover is running or who has Lego Batman on blitz pickup?
We’ve been told over and over that Fields is the type of guy who is the “last one in and the first one out.” He clearly doesn’t care enough about football or competing. He’s clearly just selfish and only concerned about himself. If he really cared about competing and winning, he wouldn’t have opted out of the collegiate season and cashed in on what — as of six months ago — was a fairly secure No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft.
Oh wait, he never opted out did he? He risked not only his health, but tens of millions of dollars to play one more season at Ohio State in an attempt to avenge the 2019 loss to Clemson and potentially win a national title. But ignore that; it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what mysterious people who may or may not be making up gossip just to get on a media members’ good side say off the record.
Forget that Fields has changed his body and diet to be the best player that he can be. Forget that he ran a 4.4 40-yard dash. Forget that he is arguably the most accurate deep passer in the draft. Forget that he has a strong enough arm to make every throw on the tree. Forget that during his time in Columbus, literally no one had a bad thing to say about him as either a person or as a teammate. Forget that he put up record-setting numbers at one of college football’s blue blood programs. Forget the evidence of your eyes and ears; none of it matters.
The only thing that counts is what cowardly bullshit artists who don’t actually know what the fuck they are talking about and get their shits and giggles from blowing toxic smoke at media members in hopes of destroying a young man’s future say on background because they are too afraid to admit that it has no basis in reality. Those are the people that we as fans and NFL front offices should trust.