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Caleb Williams-Justin Fields Talks Chiefs-49ers Undercard Clear at Super Bowl – NBC Sports Chicago

LAS VEGAS — The obvious names were atop the marquee last week in Las Vegas as the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs prepared for their showdown in Super Bowl LVIII — one that ended in a 25-22 overtime victory for the Chiefs.

You know the headliners: Mahomes. Kelce. Fast. Purdy. Shanahan.

But two other names were bubbling beneath the surface as the undercard of the championship fight between the Chiefs and Niners.

Justin Fields and Caleb Williams.

From the outside, it might seem ridiculous that a week focused on two teams that survived every challenge they faced this season could generate so much discussion around a team that finished 7-10, a franchise with four playoff victories since 1994.

But that’s how the NFL works. Of course, Super Bowl week is a party. But the league is still looking forward. Stagnation is not in the league’s DNA.

So while the Chiefs and 49ers were the main attraction at Mandalay Bay and throughout the region last week, the Bears’ pending quarterback decision was topic No. 2. Maybe 1B.

“I just don’t see the argument for keeping Fields,” a league source told NBC Sports Chicago. “There hasn’t been enough production as a passer to warrant the Williams transfer. I don’t think it will be a difficult decision for them to make.

“It’s unfair. The NFL is unfair. But these opportunities rarely come. Think about how long Chicago has needed a quarterback. Well, now’s their chance.”

As players and executives, current and past, swarmed Vegas, the difference of opinion was notable. Current players believe Fields’ position as the Bears’ franchise quarterback should not be in question. With a few exceptions, almost everyone sees Williams as the Bears’ future.

“You know Justin is a (franchise) QB, and you know I’ve seen it,” Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins told NBC Sports Chicago. “We all see him make multiple plays, and he’s just, him, they just have to build around him. So you know they got the first pick. I think they should trade the pick and get more picks to build around Justin. Just give him a chance. He just needs a chance.

“He seems like a phenomenal athlete, but the USC guy, I don’t see anyone passing him up,” former star tight end Antonio Gates told NBC Sports Chicago. “I don’t see anyone passing up a guy who can throw from all those angles like Patrick Mahomes. I see it working. So it’s not possible. I’m not guessing with him.

“Justin Fields, you’re still guessing. Is it possible? We’re still trying to figure out: Can Lamar Jackson win a Super Bowl? I put him in that. I don’t put them with Russell Wilson . I don’t put him with Russell Wilson. “I don’t put them with Josh Allen. Because these guys can still literally sit in the pocket and play the role of pocket quarterback. These guys are the best football athletes on the field. They basically have to use their legs. So (Fields) still has that Lamar Jackson dynamic to me as a football player. He doesn’t have that Josh Allen – Josh Allen can just sit there and beat you. Russell Wilson can do the same thing with me and Aaron Rodgers.

“And that’s where they change. Caleb Williams, in my opinion, I’ve watched him a lot, can do the same thing.”

But if the camps were clear, they were not unanimous.

A former MVP told NBC Sports Chicago there’s no doubt the Bears should stick with Fields.

“I don’t even understand why that’s a question,” the former MVP said. “Fields is a dog. You don’t abandon guys like that.”

Turn around and Kurt Warner explains why the Bears have no choice but to move on from Fields.

“I think the problem with Justin for me is he hasn’t shown me he’s that guy,” Warner told NBC Sports Chicago. “That doesn’t mean he’s not talented. It doesn’t mean he can’t be great and be a franchise quarterback. But when you’re three years old and you don’t rule out doubt to say, ‘That’s our guy!’ “Maybe it’s a shame because some of these guys are playing too early, they’re not ready yet, their next step or their next contract will depend on it. But that’s all we can do. If you’ve been playing for three years, you need to prove to me that you are that guy.

Turn left and a former general manager is here to explain why passing on Williams for fewer than three first-round picks is career suicide.

As the week progressed and the crowd grew, the conversation shifted from “should” to “will.”

“They’ll trade him in early March,” a league source said of Fields. “You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you either have to give him up or keep him because the trade offers aren’t good enough. If you hold him too long, you could have a (Jimmy) Garoppolo situation where the trade offers aren’t good enough. aren’t good and you have to bring him to camp to share the locker room with the guy you just drafted.

However, several people in league circles have suggested that the Bears could keep Fields on the roster until training camp and wait for an injury to a starting quarterback – like what happened to Aaron Rodgers during the week 1 – then extract maximum value from a desperate player. team.

“This might be the best way to get what you think he’s worth,” a league executive told NBC Sports Chicago. “But it’s a gamble. He’s loved in this locker room. You should really trust your culture, take your core guys and make sure they know the situation. Caleb is the guy and Justin is there until that he isn’t anymore. is that worth an extra pick or two? I’d say no. I say they’ll unload him before April and clear the deck for Caleb.

While opinions were mixed and confused on what the Bears would and should do, one thought had almost unanimous support: Justin Fields didn’t get a fair shake in Chicago.

“I think he persevered through a tough situation and got better,” Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love told NBC Sports Chicago. “He’s my guy. But I think he’s in a tough spot against Chicago. I think he’s done a lot of good things this year. He’s definitely improved in a lot of areas. He’s struggled against some injuries. So it was difficult. But, you know, I look forward to seeing what happens to him in the future, whether it’s in Chicago or wherever. But I think it’s a difficult position. You know, you know, he’s a lot of the blame for, you I know, there’s things going on there and it’s a tough position to be in. But I’m excited to see what happens with Justin and his future.

The fact that the Bears were the hidden card during Super Bowl week shows the importance of the moment that arrived for the Poles and the Bears.

“Do things right and you will be remembered forever,” the league executive said. “This kid (Williams) is career-defining. He can change everything for a lot of people. I would give the card back now if I could. I think everything is about to change.”

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