Bears’ Matt Eberflus reveals in-person message to Justin Fields as Steelers trade dwindles

The Chicago Bears have undergone many changes this offseason. The Bears are in the process of finding a location for a new stadium and reorganizing their team around new QB Caleb Williams. The team set the stage for Williams’ arrival by trading former franchise quarterback Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in March. A recent article from Sports Illustrated reveals what happened in the moments leading up to this trade, including what head coach Matt Eberflus said to Fields after the trade.

The Bears intended to do their homework on Caleb Williams quickly in hopes of getting a Fields deal done as quickly as possible. However, Williams’ visit to the top 30 on March 6 has been postponed. That pushed trade talks into the free agency period, during which QB seats were filling up before the Bears felt comfortable pulling the trigger.

General manager Ryan Poles agreed to trade Fields to the Steelers for a 2024 sixth-round pick that could become a fourth if Fields plays more than half the snaps during the 2024 season. After completing the deal, the Poles went to Eberflus’ house so the two could break the news to Fields together.

“We thanked him for his leadership, for his work ethic and for the man that he is, for how he has always been a great guy,” Eberflus said. “I just told him, ‘Hey, I’ve really enjoyed our relationship together the last two years.’ I said, “It certainly doesn’t stop there. The relationship he and I built over the first two years is special and no one can ever take that away from us.

Eberflus and Poles thanked Fields for everything. Fields thanked them for their open communication during a difficult few weeks. Poles and Eberflus then began calling team leaders to inform them of the exchange before the news broke.

Caleb Williams is poised for success in his first year

Chicago Bears number one pick Caleb Williams during a press conference at Halas Hall.
© David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears needed to trade Justin Fields, in part because they wasted much of his rookie contract without surrounding the young QB with a strong supporting cast. It’s reasonable to wonder what Fields might have become in Chicago if he had entered the league in a similar situation to what Caleb Williams will see.

Chicago seems to have learned from the mistakes of the Fields era. Caleb Williams will be poised for immediate success in his rookie season, although success is never guaranteed.

Williams joins a Chicago offense with an impressive arsenal. The running back room is loaded with D’Andre Swift, Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson. The receiving room features DJ Moore, Keenan Allen and rookie Rome Odunze. Tight end Cole Kmet is also a dangerous weapon in the passing game.

The Bears have also built a good, but not great, offensive line that is made up of a mix of veterans and young players and has solid depth at all positions.

Chicago’s defense has been solid for a few years now under Eberflus, so it’s reasonable to expect the unit to provide at least mid-level production.

The Bears may not be immediate NFC North contenders, but they’ve set the table nicely around Caleb Williams. Expectations will be high for the No. 1 overall pick this fall.