On Sunday, the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears both suffered blowout losses to fall to two 0-3 on the season. Chicago and Denver’s cold starts to the season have their respective fanbases disappointed and questioning the future of their team’s quarterback position.
In Chicago, you have the former 11th overall pick in 2021, Justin Fields. The former Ohio State star was expected to become one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the game after the team brought in star wide receiver D.J. Moore in an effort to dynamize this offense. This has not been the case early on as Chicago’s offense reeks of dysfunction, scoring just 47 points over the team’s first three games.
In Denver, quarterback Russell Wilson agreed to a five year extension worth $245 million in 2022 to solidify the Broncos quarterback position, a massive problem since Peyton Manning’s retirement. After finishing 5-12 in a nightmare first season last season, Denver hired Super Bowl-winning head coach Sean Payton in an attempt to restore a winning culture and get Wilson and the offense back on track. Three games into 2023, the Broncos are coming off a historic 70-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
With both Chicago and Denver’s quarterback positions under fire, Campus Correspondents CJ Dexter and Trevor Coughlin debate which team is worse off at the position going forward.
The Denver Broncos will be doomed for years to come if they don’t start winning games with Wilson. The Walton-Penner Ownership Group has invested too much capital into this roster for a full-scale rebuild to happen in a swift fashion. Denver traded away their first-round picks from the last two seasons and currently have the fourth highest-paid roster in the league. Wilson is virtually immovable until after 2027 due to the $107 million cap charge that the Broncos would be stuck with if they were to release their quarterback prior to that. Denver needs to show signs of life and turn their season around quickly as their roster options going forward are very limited.
The Chicago Bears haven’t had a winning record since 2018 and need to find a way to turn this around fast. While first-round pick Fields may be the second best mobile quarterback in the league, throwing 11 of 22 last week is not gonna win football games. There are talks that Fields will be traded to the Jets in exchange for Jets quarterback Zach Wilson and additional compensation. While Zach Wilson may sound like a nobody right now compared to Fields, he has thrown for 7,652 yards at BYU compared to Fields’ 5,701. Running is impressive, but having a young QB with an arm could be what the Bears need to turn their bombastic records around. Fields’ rough season comes with no excuses as the Bears have the third easiest schedule of the year and lost by 10 to the declining Buccaneers. Zach Wilson just needs a chance right now, because taking a chance at this point on a former second overall draft pick can’t hurt. While Fields is a great player, he has been given three seasons now to turn Chicago’s franchise around and has not delivered a winning record. The only chance the Bears have to ever relive their glory days again is by making a change, and this move could be the start of more changes that could turn this fall-from-grace story around.
While I agree that Fields has done nothing but lose in Chicago, his financial flexibility is what makes him such a movable asset on the roster, unlike Russell Wilson with the Broncos. He’s in year three of his rookie deal and if Chicago were to move on from him, it would only be an $11 million cap hit. There is not nearly as much financial commitment to Fields as compared to Russell Wilson, which is why Denver is worse off at the quarterback position. Denver has the choice of moving on from Russell Wilson and eating $107 million of dead salary or riding it out with him at quarterback until 2027. Fields is more expendable and can be moved on from after the season with just an $11 million cap hit.
Russell Wilson may not be in his prime anymore, but he is still an incredible football player. He has led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl win and remains one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league. Averaging 65.4% of passing completions and being the ninth highest-ranked QB by fantasy pros, it’s not like he’s doing horrible right now. These stats are impressive compared to Fields’ 18th highest ranking and 58% passing completion. With the 12th best defense in the league behind him and the Broncos schedule only getting more difficult by the year, experienced players are required. The Broncos are covered, unlike the Bears, who have no success on any part of the field. If Denver doesn’t win and loses $100 million, they can’t say they were in need of desperate help with their roster while the Bears are because they can’t accept that Fields isn’t a skilled passer. If anything, people should be more worried about getting Chicago out of their black hole, unlike Denver who will still have over $4 billion by keeping one of the greatest quarterbacks of the 2010s.