Making the biggest splash move of the 2021 offseason, the Chicago Bears traded up nine spots in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. Selecting a rookie quarterback provides new hope for any NFL franchise but for the Bears, Fields resets what many viewed to be a closed Super Bowl window heading into the 2021 offseason.
The Bears situation isn’t hard to identify. An aging defense that kept the team afloat during the first three years of the Matt Nagy era now continues to get older. Six of Chicago’s starters on defense are older than 30 years old, meanwhile, on offense, the oldest player is tight end, Jimmy Graham, at 34 years old.
Chicago does have a young core on offense, led by running backs Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery, and second-year players tight end Cole Kmet and wide receiver Darnell Mooney. Add in Fields, who just turned 22 years old in March and it’s clear that the Bears have a bright future ahead in an offensive-happy league.
Some of the aging veterans above won’t be around for Chicago’s Super Bowl run, centered around Fields but by committing to Fields for the next five seasons, a window that was once closed now has opened just a bit more. The 2021 season will be all about Fields development. Expect the Bears to seriously compete as soon as 2022, giving the Bears at least four seasons of Fields to maximize a Super Bowl window on the quarterback’s rookie contract.
Chicago’s roster is a perfect blend of young players and veterans. Looking at the Bears 2021 NFL Draft class, the hope is that Fields develops fast enough to give the Bears an opportunity to compete before star pass rusher Khalil Mack’s contract expires following the conclusion of the 2024 season.
Fields has changed the Bears fortunes and given a franchise that’s been mired in mediocrity since 1985 hope for at least the next five seasons. Doing some deep digging and it’s clear that especially with a young offensive core in place, with Fields leading the way, the Bears Super Bowl window is more open than most think.