Aug 14, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) celebrates his touchdown pass against the Miami Dolphins to tight end Jesse James (not pictured) during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Nagy: Andy Dalton remains the Bears’ starting QB

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy tried to temper Justin Fields-mania on Monday, reiterating that veteran Andy Dalton remains the team’s starting quarterback in Week 1.

Nagy’s assertion came in the aftermath of Fields’ performance Saturday in the Bears’ opening preseason win over Miami. Fields, the No. 11 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, went 14-for-20 with 142 yards and a touchdown. Fields also rushed five times for 33 yards and a score.

Conversely, Dalton played just two series – both resulting in punts — and finished 2-for-4 for 18 yards.

“I think Andy had six plays. It’s hard to say much good or bad about that with six plays,” Nagy said. “We’re going to get him some more snaps this coming preseason game. And with Justin, I go back to what I said too, we want to be able to see live plays, live situations, he got that. The only thing he can do is to continue doing that and we have to make sure that plan allows us to evaluate how well he does knowing those circumstances. Ultimately, in the end, whatever is best for the Chicago Bears is in the end what we’re going to do.”

Nagy said all the players in the locker room are bought into the process and have accepted Dalton as the starter.

“We knew going into this that in this situation, any time there’s something that goes wrong for a guy like Andy in this situation, that that’s going to be there if Justin’s playing well. But no, this is something that we’ve planned for, prepared for, and again, Justin understands all of this, and that’s what I love about him,” Nagy said. “He understands the plan. He understands the process. They all do. We asked him to go out and play well on game day live.”

The Bears host the Buffalo Bills on Saturday. They’ll see their former starting QB, Mitchell Trubisky, whom the Bills signed in the offseason to back up Josh Allen.

–Field Level Media

Aug 14, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) smiles while watching the game against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Fields flourishes as Bears rally past Dolphins

Rookie Justin Fields rushed for a touchdown and threw for another to give the host Chicago Bears a 20-13 win over the Miami Dolphins on Saturday afternoon in the preseason opener for both teams.

The Bears traded up nine spots with the New York Giants to grab Fields with the 11th overall pick out of Ohio State in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was the fourth quarterback selected.

Fields, who rushed five times for 33 yards on Saturday, used his speed to escape pressure and scamper 8 yards for a touchdown with 9:45 remaining in the third quarter.

Fields completed 14 of 20 passes for 142 yards. He tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jesse James later in the third quarter to stake Chicago to a 17-13 lead.

Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa completed 8 of 11 passes for 99 yards with an interception. Jacoby Brissett tossed a 23-yard touchdown pass to Salvon Ahmed with 45 seconds left in the second quarter to give the Dolphins a 13-0 lead.

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2021; Lake Forest, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy walks on the field during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Nagy: No chance Justin Fields starts for Bears Week 1

Coach Matt Nagy stood firm on the Chicago Bears’ decision to deem Andy Dalton as the team’s Week 1 starting quarterback over rookie Justin Fields in an interview Tuesday on The Cris Collinsworth Podcast.

Collinsworth asked Nagy if there was “a possible scenario” where Fields plays in the Bears’ season opener, Sept. 12 at the Los Angeles Rams on “Sunday Night Football.”

“No,” Nagy said. “I mean, Andy is our starter. And again, I can’t predict anything. You know how it goes: There’s so many things that can happen between today and that Week 1. But that’s — Andy is our starter and Justin’s our No. 2 and we are gonna stick to this plan.”

The Bears moved up nine spots in the first round of April’s NFL draft to select Fields out of Ohio State at No. 11 overall. They sent the New York Giants their first-round pick (No. 20), their fifth-rounder (No. 164) and their 2022 first- and fourth-rounders to make the move.

Fields was the fourth quarterback taken in the draft, falling just behind Trevor Lawrence (Jacksonville Jaguars), Zach Wilson (New York Jets) and Trey Lance (San Francisco 49ers).

But Chicago does not appear to be in a rush to play Fields.

The Bears signed Dalton to a one-year, $10 million deal in free agency, and general manager Ryan Pace told reporters in early April that Dalton would be their starter. That was four weeks before they traded up to pick Fields. Nick Foles also remains on the roster.

Dalton played significant snaps for the Dallas Cowboys last year once Dak Prescott went down for the year with a broken ankle. He started nine games and finished the year with 2,170 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Nagy spent time on his podcast appearance describing how happy the coaching staff and front office were to pull off the trade to land Fields. But he reiterated that Dalton was always going to be the No. 1 to start 2021.

“For us, we put together this plan, and the plan is that Andy is the starter,” Nagy said. “Andy’s played 10 great years in this league … and had a lot of success. And we’re excited to be able to have him come in here and do what we think he can do, but yet also teach Justin how to play quarterback — all of us together — and insulate him so he can maximize his strengths.”

–Field Level Media

Jun 9, 2021; Lake Forest, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) passes the ball during organized team activities at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bears QB Justin Fields inks $18.8M rookie deal

The Chicago Bears agreed to terms with first-round pick Justin Fields on a fully guaranteed four-year, $18.9 million contract that includes an $11.1 million signing bonus for the quarterback, NFL Network reported Thursday.

The Bears traded up nine spots with the New York Giants to grab Fields with the 11th overall pick out of Ohio State in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was the fourth quarterback selected.

Fields completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 2,100 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in eight games for the Buckeyes in 2020. He finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2019 after passing for 3,273 yards with 41 TDs and three picks, adding 484 yards and 10 scores on the ground.

With the Buckeyes, he had a 20-2 record and led the team to back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances.

The rookie is competing with veteran Andy Dalton for the starting job. Dalton joined the Bears in free agency after starting nine games last season with the Dallas Cowboys. Chicago also has former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles on the QB depth chart.

–Field Level Media

Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; DeVonta Smith (Alabama) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by Philadelphia Eagles as the number ten overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

NFL draft notebook: NFC East drama shakes up first round

After a mostly predictable start, three NFC East rivals cranked up the intrigue in the 2021 NFL Draft with high-stakes maneuvers that reshaped the proceedings.

The Dallas Cowboys, due up at No. 10, openly coveted one of the top two cornerbacks in the class, Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II or South Carolina’s Jaycee Horn. But the Carolina Panthers made Horn the first defensive player off the board at No. 8 and the Denver Broncos chose Surtain at No. 9, leaving Dallas empty-handed.

Meanwhile, Heisman Trophy-winning wide receiver DeVonta Smith of Alabama was still available at No. 10, with the New York Giants possibly interested in him at No. 11. The Philadelphia Eagles made a rare deal, executing a trade with one division rival to leapfrog another.

The receiver-needy Eagles jumped to the 10th pick to select Smith by trading the 12th and 84th overall picks to the Cowboys. Dallas used the No. 12 pick on Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons rather than a corner.

“When you trade it in the division, you understand that you’re not going to get any values (added) to that, either. It’s going to have to work for them as well,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said.

The turn of events had consequences.

With Smith gone, the Giants instead traded back with the Chicago Bears, who moved up from No. 20 to No. 11 to land Ohio State’s Justin Fields, the fourth quarterback chosen.

At No. 20 the Giants went with a different wide receiver, slot Kadarius Toney of Florida. It marked the first time Dave Gettleman traded back in eight drafts as general manager of the Giants and the Carolina Panthers.

Belichick stands Pat for QB: The New England Patriots didn’t have to trade up to snag one of the best quarterbacks available. Alabama’s Mac Jones fell to the Patriots at No. 15.

Now he’s tasked with becoming New England’s next franchise quarterback more than a year after Tom Brady left for the Buccaneers.

“I can’t wait to play for the greatest franchise in NFL history,” Jones said.

Records for offense, Alabama: The first seven picks of the draft were offensive players for the first time. The previous mark was six straight offensive players to open the 1999 draft.

After quarterbacks went 1-2-3, the Atlanta Falcons selected highly touted tight end Kyle Pitts. The Cincinnati Bengals chose LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase fifth, the Miami Dolphins selected Alabama receiver Jaylen Waddle sixth and the Detroit Lions chose Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell seventh.

Nick Saban’s pro factory in Tuscaloosa also had an historic night, as the Crimson Tide tied a record with six players chosen in the first round of a single draft. The 2004 Miami Hurricanes had the first draft class with six first-rounders.

After Waddle, Surtain, Smith and Jones, the Las Vegas Raiders reached at No. 17 for Alabama tackle Alex Leatherwood, who projects as a right tackle on their depth chart with Kolton Miller locked in at left tackle. The Pittsburgh Steelers then drafted running back Najee Harris at No. 24 to bolster a thin depth chart at the position.

Jags, Jets take two: The entire NFL knew the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets would select quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson with the first two picks. But both teams had a second first-round pick to spend toward building their teams around their respective rookies.

The Jets owned the Seahawks’ 23rd pick from last year’s Jamal Adams trade. They packaged that and two third-rounders to the Minnesota Vikings to move up to No. 14 and take the top-rated offensive guard in the class, Alijah Vera-Tucker of Southern Cal. Vera-Tucker figures to slot in next to last year’s first-round pick, mammoth tackle Mekhi Becton, to protect Wilson.

The Jaguars used the 25th overall pick (from the Los Angeles Rams in the Jalen Ramsey trade) to reunite Lawrence with his Clemson teammate, running back Travis Etienne. Etienne is the ACC’s all-time leading rusher with high marks of 4,952 yards and 70 touchdowns over four seasons.

–Field Level Media

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) rushes upfield ahead of Northwestern Wildcats linebacker Blake Gallagher (51) during the first quarter of the Big Ten Championship football game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020.

Big Ten Championship Ohio State Northwestern

Report: Patriots talking to Falcons about the No. 4 overall pick

The New England Patriots may be strongly considering paying up for trading up in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Athletic reported the Patriots are interested in the Atlanta Falcons’ fourth overall selection in Thursday’s first round, likely targeting a quarterback.

With Trevor Lawrence (Jaguars), Zach Wilson (Jets) and either Mac Jones or Trey Lance (49ers) likely gone by that point, the Patriots could be targeting Ohio State’s Justin Fields.

The cost would figure to be prohibitive, given the 49ers gave up plenty to move from No. 12 into their current No. 3 position. San Francisco traded the No. 12 overall pick this year, its third-round pick next year and first-rounders in 2022 and 2023.

The Patriots hold the No. 15 overall pick.

–Field Level Media

Nov 29, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan watches from the sidelines during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Rams 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

49ers to take QB at No. 3, defer on Jimmy Garoppolo’s future

The San Francisco 49ers plan to select a quarterback with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed Monday.

Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, speaking at their pre-draft press conference, each alluded to the fact that they had the quarterback position in mind when they made a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move up from No. 12 overall to No. 3.

“What I’m proud of with what we’ve done is we could have sat there at 12 and waited to see which one came to us, and I think whichever one did, if one did … I think that could have looked really good,” Shanahan said.

“But we made a decision in this process that we felt we needed to get a starting quarterback this year and add that to our team. And when we sit there at 12 way back in the day, we wanted to dictate it. We also were worried: Maybe the one we end up wanting doesn’t fall to 12.”

After San Francisco traded the No. 12 pick, its next two first-rounders and a 2022 third-rounder to Miami to move up to No. 3, NFL Network reported that the 49ers told quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo he was “still in (their) plans.” But Garoppolo’s future with the team is now in doubt following Shanahan’s comments about drafting a “starting” quarterback, and he could be an attractive trade target for another team.

Shanahan effectively dodged the question when asked if he was certain if Garoppolo would be on the 49ers’ roster by the end of the week.

“I can’t guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday, so I can’t guarantee who will be on our roster on Sunday. So that goes for all of us,” he said.

Since arriving in San Francisco via trade from the New England Patriots in 2017, Garoppolo has started 30 games; the 49ers went 22-8 in those starts. He quarterbacked the team to Super Bowl LIV, a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. But multiple injuries caused him to miss most of the 2018 and 2020 seasons.

Shanahan said he feels good about five different quarterback prospects for the third pick. Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and BYU’s Zach Wilson are widely expected to go with the first two picks to the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, respectively. San Francisco then would have its pick among the next three options: Justin Fields of Ohio State, Mac Jones of Alabama and Trey Lance of North Dakota State.

ESPN’s Todd McShay reported Monday that Shanahan wants to select Jones, but others in the front office are pushing for Lance.

Lynch said he “will always defer to” Shanahan on the topic of quarterbacks. Shanahan is the 49ers’ offensive play-caller and has a track record as an offensive coordinator in Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta.

But the decision at No. 3 will be made jointly by Lynch and Shanahan, Lynch added.

–Field Level Media

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) gets ready to throw the ball against Indiana Hoosiers during the third quarter in their NCAA Division I football game on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.

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Report: Justin Fields tells teams he has epilepsy

Feb 4, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; NFL football commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference ahead of Super Bowl 55, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Tampa, Fla.  Mandatory Credit: Perry Knotts/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Former Ohio State quarterback and projected first-round pick Justin Fields has told NFL teams that he is managing epilepsy, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

Other members of Fields’ family have outgrown the neurological condition, and doctors believe he will, too, per the report. Diagnosed years ago, Fields has not had any epileptic seizures recently and takes medication, per the report.

Alan Faneca, Tiki Barber, Samari Rolle and Jason Snelling also dealt with epilepsy during their NFL careers.

Fields passed for 5,373 yards and 63 touchdowns in 22 games over two seasons with Ohio State. He transferred there after one season at Georgia, in which he played in 12 games in a backup role and threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns.

He was intercepted nine times in college and had a completion percentage of 68.4.

Fields could be selected as high as No. 3 by the San Francisco 49ers in the draft, which begins April 29.

–Field Level Media