For Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans hoping the team trade for Justin Fields this offseason, a Bucs insider is urging everyone to pump the brakes.
With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in dire need of a quarterback this offseason, rumors of a Justin Fields trade have naturally sparked some excitement. It’s not hard to link the Bucs to Fields, or to justify the franchise paying a hefty price to acquire a guy they’ll have to tank to try and draft next season.
Of course, Kyle Trask is already here and could be that guy. But if it’s Trask or Fields, the argument resolves itself without much effort.
Scott Reynolds, who has been covering the Bucs for what seems like forever and knows what he’s talking about, addressed the recent Justin Fields trade rumors in
“I’m not sure that the Bears will be trading Justin Fields to acquire another quarterback,” Reynolds wrote in his weekly mailbag. “Chicago spent the 11th overall pick on Fields two years ago and part of the reason why he hasn’t developed has been the poor starting cast around him.”
Buccaneer Rumors: Should Tampa Bay trade for Justin Fields?
He’s 100 percent right, even if it sucks to hear. The Bears would be insane to trade Fields, even if there are justifiable reasons to do so.
Chief among those reasons would be the front office resetting the clock on itself to ownership. Fields is entering the third year of his rookie contract and is going to be in line for a big payday in the near future. If Chicago drafts Stroud or Young, that rookie contract goes back to zero and the front office has essentially bought itself three years of time before needing to jump through salary hoops to pay their franchise guy.
With a new stadium looming large as another factor, the Bears need to have a flashy and competitive team sooner rather than later and the best way to do that is to have a Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrow leading the charge.
The conundrum is arguing whether or not Fields is that guy.
If the Bears make him available, the Bucs should absolutely make a call to see what it takes. Sure, that fat contract extension is coming but Fields would give the Bucs a mostly-proven commodity at quarterback at a cheaper price than it would take to draft Caleb Williams.
Let’s pretend the Bucs tank next year, there’s no guarantee they’d land the No. 1 pick and be in a position to draft Williams. If Tampa Bay tosses away next season and still needs to trade up to draft a quarterback of the future, then the gamble was lost. There’s also no guarantee that Williams will be a top prospect next season, or that there will be a sure-fire franchise guy at the to of the board — another risk factor that needs to be considered.
Trading for Fields would cost at least this year’s first-rounder and probably one next year as well. If that’s the case, the Bucs might be getting Fields at a discount compared to what they’d need to package to trade up for someone next season and would be getting someone far more proven than taking a risk on someone who isn’t the top prospect next season.
Make no mistake, there’s still a ton of risk involved if a trade for Fields is made. However, he’s coming off a season that showed more potential than anyone else the Bucs could bring in at quarterback, would be the perfect middle ground of a guy who helps the team compete now and is also the franchise quarterback Tampa Bay desperately needs and seems to be looking for.