Bears GM says he tried to help Justin Fields trade to Steelers

ORLANDO, Fla. – Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Bowles was anticipating a more robust market for Justin Fields before the team traded the quarterback to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I was a bit surprised,” Poles said at Monday's NFL league meeting. “But as you research and have conversations, you have to adapt to the market. But I think it's just with how other teams are structured, because if you look at the beginning, there are probably teams looking at the draft” for players to fill the void. Ultimately, playoff teams will likely have someone in place. So it was a smaller group of teams really.”

Chicago received a conditional 2025 sixth-round pick that could become a fourth-rounder if Fields plays 51% of Pittsburgh's offensive snaps this season. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed Sunday that quarterback Russell Wilson is in the “top spot” to be the starter, but said Fields “will have the opportunity to compete” when the time is right.

The Bears were initially eyeing a Day 2 draft pick as well as a late 2025 conditional pick, a source familiar with the team's plans told ESPN. Six teams, including Pittsburgh, came with a variety of offers, with most envisioning Fields as a backup.

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Poles said Monday that the Bears had received offers from teams other than Pittsburgh, but he believed the opportunity to send Fields to a place with a clearer path to contention was rightly taken by the 25-year-old.

“They started with Ross but there was more open competition, it seemed from my point of view, there were other opportunities where there were some midfielders who were either veteran players or youngsters who had already earned their wages, so it would be that way.” “It was more difficult for him to get on the field,” Bowles said.

Poles and Bears coach Matt Eberflus called Fields from Eberflus' home to inform the quarterback that he had been traded on March 16. Fields struck a positive tone, according to the Poles, who called the decision to trade the quarterback before his fourth season “one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.”

“I always touch on the empathy part, where I'm having this conversation with my character [son] “It was difficult,” the Poles said.[Fields’] Jersey is in his room. So it puts that into perspective of how difficult those moves are. But I really felt like this was what was best for our organization and what was best for Justin. I said that in the crowd: I wanted to do right by him. We did it. We had a really good conversation.”

The Bears are scheduled to draft Fields' replacement with the No. 1 overall pick next month. After spending several days with USC Caleb Williams In Los Angeles last week before the top pick's supposed pro day, Poles came away impressed by the quarterback's “maturity” and the way his coaches and college teammates viewed him.

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“When you talk to his teammates, they don't like him, they love him,” Bowles said. “His leadership, how he brings people together. He's intentional in his leadership. The same goes for the staff. I have a hard time finding someone who doesn't like him or even love him and think he can reach the highest levels.” the border. The feedback was good.”

Poles will travel from Orlando to LSU's pro day on Wednesday to keep tabs on the quarterback Jayden Daniels, who is expected to be among the top three, before returning to Chicago. The General Manager will not be present to watch Drake May at UNC's pro day on Thursday, but he said the Bears will be represented by quarterbacks coach Kerry Joseph and several scouting executives.

The Bears plan to host Williams for a top-30 visit during the first week of April, where they will collect his medical data. Williams chose not to give the information to all 32 NFL franchises last month, saying he would provide it during visits to several teams.

“I've done that over the years when guys come in,” Bowles said when asked what he hopes to take away from Williams' visit to Halas Hall. “You can actually make some installations, take a break and then bring it back to you just in terms of the call-up. And build relationships with the coaches. Make sure the chemistry is there.”

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