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Caleb Williams Shares His Reaction to Justin Fields Trade

Caleb Williams was surprised, but knew where he would land once Justin Fields got traded to the Steelers in March.



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields

The Pittsburgh Steelers have the upside in the quarterback room by adding Justin Fields to the mix. But he’s not perfect, in fact, far from it, as he move into the next stage of his career. One legitimate concern about Fields’ game is his pocket awareness, which often leads to unnecessary sacks. He just doesn’t see the field very well. Russell Wilson has the same issue, however, so the Steelers might be dealing with a potential dilemma.

Fields had two head coaches and three different offensive coordinators in his three years in Chicago. That’s an incredibly tough environment for a young quarterback to develop and grow in. Former NFL quarterback Phil Simms thinks it was the right move by the Bears to trade Fields and start fresh at the quarterback position with Caleb Williams. And on top of that, he outlined his critical issues with Fields in general.

“Just was not a good processor,” Simms said of the Ross Tucker Podcast. “You know, he had some rough games, and people would go,’well, the offense stinks and this,’ but I watch the tape, and there are people wide open. Wide open. First read to him, you have to get 20 and it didn’t happen. Now, I thought he got a little better at the end, but Caleb Williams is clearly a better passer of the football, in my eyes, than Justin Fields.”

But it’s interesting to note that Williams himself did not fully see the Fields trade coming, but once it did come, he became reserved where he would be going, which is Chicago.

“I end up calling a couple people and was just like, ‘Welp, we know where their mind and heart is at in this instance.’ Let’s prepare and get ready and handle things accordingly and still do our due diligence on the situation and things like that. In that moment, it was kind of like, ‘Wow.’ Because I didn’t do my top-30 visit yet. They didn’t have my medicals and things like that. They have it all now and I had a good time on my top-30. But it was interesting right then at that moment because it was just so unexpected in that instance,” Williams said on The Pivot Podcast. 

Williams will get his NFL start with Chicago. But Chicago reflected on their mistakes with Fields and where he goes from here. Fields now has a new start with the Steelers. Former Bears director of player personnel Josh Lucas, who was on the staff that drafted Fields, shared concerns that Simms brought up.

“Our main concern was: ‘Is this just a two-year starting quarterback in college that needs more time? He’s playing around phenomenal talent, offensive line and perimeter skill. He’s got more time to operate. Or is this like a lack of instinct?’ That was our big question, and after three years, I would say there’s a little bit of an instinct issue there,” Lucas said. “It’s why I think the league just told you he’s viewed as a backup quarterback right now more than a starting quarterback,” Lucas said in an interview with Pro Football Focus earlier this month.

Fields took a small step forward in 2023, his third year as Chicago’s starting quarterback. The Ohio State alum threw 370 times, completing 227 for 2,562 yards and 16 touchdowns. He threw nine interceptions and maintained an 86.3 passer rating and a 5.29 adjusted net yards per attempt.

In 2022, he was 192 of 318 for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, an 85.2 quarterback rating and 4.63 adjusted net yards per attempt.

Since 2022, Fields has the most rushing yards by a quarterback with 1,800 yards and 6.3 yards per carry. Both figures are higher than Lamar Jackson’s.