The first of the first-round quarterbacks has signed on the dotted line.
The Bears have agreed to terms with Ohio State product Justin Fields on a fully guaranteed, four-year deal worth $18.8 million, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported. Fields’ contract includes an $11 million signing bonus, Pelissero added, and will also feature the standard fifth-year option that all first-round picks receive in their first contract.
Fields’ selection answered — at least on paper — Chicago’s long-running question under center, which was only prolonged by the failed experiment involving Mitchell Trubisky. Instead of shying away from spending another first-round pick on a quarterback just weeks after Trubisky departed for Buffalo, the Bears dove right back into the fire, choosing a passer who some believe could end up being better than those selected ahead of him in April.
Fields’ play at Ohio State was essentially a two-season display of natural talent and athleticism, but the attribute he might need most as he enters the NFL — toughness — didn’t truly reveal itself until the College Football Playoff. Locked in a tight game with rival Clemson, Fields took a direct helmet shot to his hip and ribs, crumpling to the ground and writhing in pain on the Superdome turf. He fought through the injury to return to the game and fired a touchdown pass on a sprint out just moments later, eventually finishing with six touchdowns and a win over the Tigers in a memorably gritty performance.
Fields heads to Chicago to join a Bears team led by fellow new arrival Andy Dalton, whose addition didn’t exactly thrill most Bears fans. The rookie’s mere presence will undoubtedly have Chicago fans pining for his insertion before long (if not already), but time will tell whether Fields will be ready when he does step on to the playing surface in a regular season game. For now, it’s about learning the offense and preparing as if he’ll start, because Fields probably won’t have to wait too long before he sees his first opportunity in Chicago.
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