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Bears pick Justin Fields at 11 in 2021 NFL draft after trade with Giants

Justin Fields, 2021 NFL Draft, Bears

Andy Dalton will not be QB1 in Chicago after all. In a badly needed move — but one which wasn’t entirely expected — the Chicago Bears aggressively traded up from No. 20 to No. 11 in the 2021 NFL draft, using their pick to take Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.

The Bears have had a long and tortured history at the quarterback position. Since Sid Luckman in the early days of the NFL, Chicago has rarely enjoyed elite quarterback play. Jim McMahon was a rare exception, but decade after decade has given Windy City sports fans a series of migraine headaches on Sundays.

Rex Grossman improbably led the Bears to Super Bowl XLI in the 2006 season, but turned into a pumpkin after that. More recent years have involved the misery of Mitchell Trubisky and the volatility of Jay Cutler. The franchise needed to find its next great signal-caller. Justin Fields — who was on the board at 11 after the top 10 teams passed on him in the NFL draft — was too good to pass up. Chicago traded up from No. 20 and gave the Giants a future first-round pick.

The Bears hope it was worth the sacrifice.

The Bears had to pony up a lot to the Giants in order to move nine spots up from 20 to 11, as Adam Schefter reported:

Yet, given the chronic and persistent lack of elite quarterback play in Chicago over a prolonged period, every Bears fan will say this was a necessary price to pay. No one took Andy Dalton seriously as a QB1, even though the team’s Twitter account memorably sold Dalton as the starter earlier this offseason.

Going for the brass ring and snagging Justin Fields shows that the Bears are serious about changing how they perform, and how they want to be perceived. Given the drama and uncertainty surrounding Aaron Rodgers and his relationship with the Green Bay Packers, Chicago might have significantly altered its trajectory as a franchise for the next decade, though only time will tell.