NFC Notes: Bears, Justin Fields, Lions, Packers, Aaron Rodgers


Bears GM Ryan Poles plans on QB Justin Fields being the starter in 2023 and that for the team to select a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, they would have to be “blown away” by a prospect to move on from Fields.

“He showed the ability to be impactful with his legs, and there are flashes with his arm,” Poles said of Fields, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN. “Now if we can put that together, I think we have something really good.”

“[There are] deep-ball throws that we know he can make,” Poles added. “Now it’s just closing the gap and being consistent with it. A guy that has ownership. He has a growth mindset. The amount of time that he put in with the coaches to continue to get better, the guy is hungry to be successful in this league.”

Fields commented on his 1,143 rushing yards, which was 64 yards shy of the single-season rushing record for a quarterback. He wound up being sidelined with a hip injury, yet still led the league with 7.1 yards per carry.

“It’s a rushing record, and I’m a quarterback,” Fields said. “Of course, it would’ve been cool to have, but I’m not really into records like that. If there was one record I’d like to break, of course, it’d be a passing record, so we’ll see if we can get that done in the near future.”


  • The Athletic’s Colton Pouncy notes the Lions showed a willingness to trade up for players in the draft last year and could do that again this year if they view Alabama DE Will Anderson or Georgia DT Jalen Carter as head and shoulders above some of the other defensive prospects. 
  • It would be expensive, though, as Pouncy outlines one potential trade with the Cardinals would necessitate Detroit giving up their second-round pick at No. 56 overall to go from No. 6 to No. 3. 
  • While the defense needs a lot of work, Pouncy writes not to discount the Lions spending a high draft pick or two on the offense, specifically at tight end, running back, or guard. 
  • Oklahoma S Justin Broiles met with the Lions at the Tropical Bowl. (Justin Melo)
  • Oregon State OL Brandon Kipper met with 22 teams at the NFLPA Bowl, including the Lions. (Justin Melo)


NFL front office employees love to talk about other teams, and the chatter about Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has been a hot topic. There’s a persistent belief Green Bay will look to trade Rodgers this offseason. 

“I think the Packers are done with him,” a longtime executive said via the Athletic’s Mike Sando. “The time to jump off was last year. They missed the ability to maximize their compensation. And they missed the playoffs. When they moved Davante (Adams), they should have moved Aaron and said, ‘We are starting over and we have all these picks.’ They could have sent him to Denver.”

Now, it’s worth noting out there’s been nothing substantial from Green Bay’s side of things suggesting they’re considering this course of action, although Rodgers hasn’t calmed things down with his comments in various media appearances. One veteran coach countered to Sando that it’s easy for front-office execs to make-believe with another team’s assets when it’s not their skin in the game. 

“Who are these guys?” he said. “I’d love to be the hypothetical owner in Green Bay listening to the GM and president present the trade case to me so I could replay, ‘OK, in summary, you want to trade an MVP-caliber player who still creates 2-3 wins per season, so we can attempt to solidify our evaluation of our third-year drafted quarterback while he is throwing to sub-average weaponry? It sounds like we are patterning ourselves after our rivals. Which one, Chicago?’ ”

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