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Ryan Poles Details Why Steelers Were Perfect Destination for Justin Fields

Bears general manager Ryan Poles explained why the Steelers were the right spot to put Justin Fields in rather than other spots.



Pittsburgh Steelers QB Justin Fields
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 9, 2021. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

When the Pittsburgh Steelers landed Justin Fields, it was no surprise after they decided to move on from Kenny Pickett. But there were other teams in the running for Fields, specifically the Vikings, Raiders, and Falcons, or at least teams that the Fields had circled as landing spots. And with the decree that Bears general manager Ryan Poles made at the NFL Combine to do right by Fields, he wanted to get Fields in the right spot. He viewed Pittsburgh as that spot.

“There were other teams,” Poles said. “The Steelers were just an opportunity where it was almost like more of a … they have a starter with Russ, but there was more of an open competition it felt like from my perspective where there were other opportunities where there were some quarterbacks that were either veteran guys or young guys that had already been paid, so it would have been a tougher situation for him to get on the field.”

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.

Wilson is in the pole position. If you’re a fan of NASCAR, you know that means Wilson is in the most advantageous position in the quarterback competition. But Justin Fields will not go away that easily in the competition. Mike Tomlin and the Steelers realize their potential in Fields.

“Oh my god, man, he oozes talent and potential. He’s worn the responsibility of being the franchise quarterback, but still gets to come into a community situation to learn from a guy that’s been doing it for over a decade. There’s a lot of meat left on that bone and I’m excited about working on extracting it,” Mike Tomlin said.

Fields is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and the Steelers must decide this offseason if they want to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract. That would be a guaranteed $25 million contract for 2025. The Steelers could negotiate a traditional contract extension.