LAKE FOREST – In the latest season, former Per Achim Hicks showed how important the development of Justin Fields is to rebuilding Chicago’s hopes with sharp criticisms of his time in the organization.
Hicks said during his introductory press conference after joining Brady with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “I feel spoiled for having someone on the other side of the ball who can deliver the ball all the time. He’s proven that over the years.
“It was definitely a draw,” Hicks continued when asked if playing the quarterback was a goal. “It helps the defense to have a quarterback who can control the clock, the ball and the field position. That’s what we have here.”
Being able to attract top free agent talent is an uncommon feature of having an elite quarterback. While Fields still has a lot of work to do as a passer, the move he made as one of the NFL’s top playmakers last season caught the attention of many around the league.
She also played a role in pulling the Bears’ free agent this offseason as the allure of playing on the same team as Fields helped general manager Ryan Poles get several new members on a fresh-looking defense.
“I think if you put up his stats it speaks for itself,” said freshman quarterback Tremaine Edmonds Thursday. “Obviously he presents challenges in different ways whether he is running the ball or throwing the football. I clearly know when [the Bills were] We were warming to him, “We gotta make sure to bring her in this week,” but definitely an excited guy to play with. You know, that obviously goes into the decision to make that decision to come here.”
Like Edmunds, TJ Edwards is a new member of the Bears team that faced Fields last season. While preparing to take on the Fields and the Bears as a member of the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles, Edwards got a good feel for the type of team the Poles are building with Championship Fields in the lead role.
“We came and played here, it’s been a really tough team, man,” Edwards said Thursday. “It was a game coming to the end and obviously I can talk more of the defensive side against the offense, just a lot of gunplay and trying to contain the fields was a big part of what we were trying to do. You saw what happened on one of the plays where he got away so it’s definitely A special player for sure and you could tell just by the way the game was going there was absolutely no stopping. That’s definitely something I want to be a part of.”
Related: The Poles details how the bears trade met in the #1 pick
When you have an elite quarterback, you automatically get yourself into a Super Bowl photo. The truly elite men with rings on their resumes – (retired) Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, etc. – attract quality veteran talent to join them on their title duties.
Guys like Hicks are often willing to take less to play on a team with a certified “man” in the middle. At the very least, having a quarterback playmaker is a ticket into the lottery for high-quality veteran extras. Teams without a viable quarterback are not allowed to enter.
Just ask DeMarcus Walker. During his career, the 28-year-old defensive end played with who’s who of quarterbacks. From Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch to Brett Rypien, Brandon Allen and Malik Willis, Walker has been on this side of the NFL fence.
Coming to Chicago, he chose to see how his other half lived by throwing Fields.
“Excuse me, the Frenchman,” Walker said Thursday when asked if the quarterback influenced his free agent’s decision. “Justin Fields is definitely, you know, someone I just can’t fight with.”
Fields did enough in year 2 to put the Bears on the radar of potential free agents. Some came to Chicago to join him. If he takes another giant leap in 2023, it could open the floodgates and speed up the rebuilding of bears to a different stage from the childhood they’re currently in.
“Freelance web ninja. Wannabe communicator. Amateur tv aficionado. Twitter practitioner. Extreme music evangelist. Internet fanatic.”