Grading the Justin Fields trade: Steelers swindled the Bears once more

Is the Steelers' trade for Justin Fields as lopsided as it seems? Here are my grades for both teams.

Chicago Bears v Pittsburgh Steelers
Chicago Bears v Pittsburgh Steelers / Emilee Chinn/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Steelers pulled off the impossible. After a disgruntled Kenny Pickett was sent packing following the news of QB Russell Wilson coming to town, Omar Khan executed a trade for former first-round pick and Chicago Bears quarterback, Justin Fields.

The decision to trade for Fields was met with excitement by Steelers fans -- especially when you consider the compensation involved. Though it was reported that the Bears were initially seeking a 2nd-round pick, the market fell flat.

A few teams were rumored to be in the mix, but Bears' GM Ryan Poles wanted to right by Fields and sent him packing for Pittsburgh. In exchange for the polarizing quarterback, the Steelers were asked to part with just a future 6th-round pick that could turn into a 4th-rounder if Fields plays more than 51 percent of the snaps on offense in 2024.

Justin Fields Trade

Many NFL trades seem to make sense for both parties involved, but that certainly wasn't the case when these two teams traded with each other just before the NFL trade deadline during the 2022 season. In that lopsided deal, the Steelers ditched a struggling Chase Claypool for a 2nd-round pick that ultimately turned into the 32nd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft and was used to select CB Joey Porter Jr.

You won't see many trades that are this one-sided, but will this be the case once more with the Justin Fields trade? Here are my initial trade grades for the Bears and the Steelers.

Chicago receives a 6th-round pick in 2025. . Bears Grade. Bears Trade Grade. D

Bears Trade Grade: D

I want to think that there was a good enough reason for Chicago to trade Justin Fields for pennies, but yikes! Despite flashing tremendous upside and showing gradual improvements since his rookie season, the Bears essentially gave Fields away for a meaningless future Day 3 draft pick.

I can understand their thought process. Poles wanted a clean slate and a fresh start at quarterback. Caleb Williams will soon join the team as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, and the Bears will hand the reins to the rookie. Still, trading Fields for a Day 3 pick seems like a bad idea.

Not only do the Bears lack a quality backup they can turn to if Williams were to go down in 2024, but they also miss out on the chance to deal Fields to a QB-needy team just before the 2024 trade deadline. We know how often injuries occur at the quarterback position in the NFL, and there was sure to be a team that would have offered more than what the Steelers gave up.

The Bears would have been better off having a capable, dynamic backup quarterback on a one-year rental than shipping him off for a meaningless future draft choice.

. Steelers Grade. Steelers Trade Grade. A+. Pittsburgh receives QB Justin Fields

Steelers Trade Grade: A+

You'll forgive me if I have the Steelers passing this test with flying colors. When the 2023 season ended, there was a case to be made that Pittsburgh could trade a 2nd-round or 3rd-round pick for Justin Fields -- knowing that he would have been an instant upgrade over what they've had in years. Now the Steelers land a talented quarterback on a zero-risk deal.

Entering his fourth NFL season and beginning his Steelers career behind Russell Wilson on the depth chart, there's no guarantee that Fields even gets a chance to be the starter in 2024. But what's the worst-case scenario with this trade? Pittsburgh gets a high-end backup QB for a future 6th-round pick?

There's really no downside for Pittsburgh, but the potential payout is immense. Fields has undeniable traits to work with thanks to his live arm and lethal legs. Now the Steelers have a veteran in Wilson who has played in all the big games and a 25-year-old QB in Fields with untapped potential.

Saying 'the price was right' somehow doesn't even cut it. The Pittsburgh Steelers essentially stole Justin Fields from the Chicago Bears in this trade.

Related: Grading the Diontae Johnson trade: Did the Panthers fleece the Steelers?