Looks like Panthers fans already regret passing on Justin Fields

Justin Fields first introduced himself to the national public on Monday night in Pittsburgh. The rookie did not disappoint. After a slow first half against a tough Steelers defense, he exploded for 228 yards passing and a clutch go-ahead touchdown in the second. The latter came with less than two minutes to play. The throws he made during that series were among the best the NFL has seen this season.

It was the latest indication that the 11th overall pick is changing at a significant rate in franchise quarterback material. This goes back to a question many have been asking in recent months. How the hell did the Bears manage to land Fields? Experts agreed that Trevor Lawrence and Fields were the #1 and #2 prospects in the country seeking the 2021 draft. Then, for some mind-boggling reason, Fields’ stock began to sag after the end of the 2020 college season.

Enough to where two quarterbacks jumped for him.

Zach Wilson went #2 to the Jets and Trey Lance went #3 to San Francisco. Still, there was confidence that Fields would still finish in the top 10. Especially with some QB needy teams that were between 7th and 9th pick. Then craziness happened. The Detroit Lions chose Penei Sewell left tackle at #7. Carolina took cornerback Jaycee Horn at #8 and the Denver Broncos picked Patrick Surtain II at #9. When Philadelphia took off to take on wide receiver DeVonta Smith at #10, the Bears had their opening.

They struck a deal with the Giants for the 11th overall pick and took their man. As Chicago basks in the sudden wave of hope that they’ll finally have a QB, other fanbases are already bemoaning the decision to pass it on. No more than the Panthers who chose to trade for Sam Darnold of the Jets this past season, believing they could turn him around. It didn’t turn out well. In nine starts, he has only seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions and is now on the shelf with a broken shoulder blade.

Carolina will resort to finishing with PJ Walker as their starting quarterback. As the realization of this kicks in, many have already started expressing their frustration at not grabbing Fields when he literally fell into their lap seven months ago.

Justin Fields Timeline Reflects Bears’ Biggest Regret

It’s creepy how the whole process turned out. In 2017, the team had Patrick Mahomes on the board when they traded up to #2 overall. Instead, they went with Mitch Trubisky. Mahomes fell to the 10th pick where the Kansas City Chiefs traded to get him. He went on to win an MVP award and then a Super Bowl. Fans were saddened to have missed another franchise-changing QB.

Then the football gods finally seemed to give them a break. For four years, almost the day of that fiasco, the Bears were on the other side of that scenario. They needed their man to fall and that’s exactly what Justin Fields did. Like Mahomes, teams became overly gunshy about his perceived shortcomings and failed to focus on his potential. They chose safer choices, which allowed Chicago to correct their earlier mistake.

This has a chance to become a great redemption story.

It’s hard to feel too bad for Panthers fans. They enjoyed quality quarterback play for a long time. Bear fans have endured almost pure misery since the 1950s. They deserve to have a star in that position for once. Fields already looks like a star. You have to admit, it’s kind of satisfying to see other fanbases cry in pain at making the same mistake this team has made over the years.

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