Each week, Justin Fields continues to show why he is a great quarterback in this league. Whether it be an amazing 60-yard run or him escaping tackle after tackle, he reminds us of his talent. However, with the team that he is surrounded with, how much longer can he perform at this level?
Getting drafted by the Chicago Bears was certainly unfortunate for Fields. He came off of two phenomenal seasons at Ohio State, yet three other QBs were taken ahead of him. Trevor Lawrence, who, based off what we all saw in college, was the obvious No. 1 choice. Zach Wilson. Don’t even get me started — as a Jets fan, I would take Fields 10 times out of 10 ahead of Wilson. Trey Lance remains to be seen, but Fields has proven his talent.
So, unfortunately, Fields dropped down to No. 11 to Chicago. After a rough rookie season under Matt Nagy, many thought that this would be Fields’ breakout year. New GM, new head coach, new receivers and some offensive line additions sounded like a recipe for success.
However, this season hasn’t exactly equaled that.
Fields is the third-most sacked QB in the league, being taken down 40 times. He’s thrown 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Receiver Darnell Mooney is out for the season, and Chase Claypool and N’Keal Harry were both inactive Sunday. Right guard Tevin Jenkins was injured during the game as well. So, Fields’ main targets and some of his protection are unavailable.
Therefore, a lot of the load falls on his shoulders. He has to take it upon himself to give this team a chance to win. That means he has to run — a lot. He became just the third quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season Sunday. So, he’s on the move a lot and he gets hit a lot. What can that mean for his long-term durability?
If he keeps going at the rate he is going, with the little protection he has, I fear that he won’t be able to play for a long time in this league. Just like running backs are only solid for five to seven years, Fields may be on that pace as well if his body keeps taking hits like it is now.
However, let’s say the Bears do improve in the next two years and he gets some help on offense. I’m sure Chicago will want to extend him for a fifth season, too. So, after three years, Fields has the option to go somewhere else.
Obviously, it’s too soon to predict what will happen following this season. But, I am saying it’s possible that his team could screw him over as a result of the lack of help he has. His body could also get worn down if he keeps rushing at this amount and taking so many hits. If Chicago doesn’t ruin him, he could get out and go to a better team.
Fields is one of the best Ohio State quarterbacks who has the potential to be successful in the NFL in decades. Let’s hope he isn’t failed by factors he cannot control.