The controversy surrounding Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a long-running saga still without resolution. If Rodgers is indeed on his way out of the NFC North, something that has been rumored for quite some time now, is Justin Fields the best quarterback in the division? I think it's safe to say the Chicago Bears aren't primed to be uber-competitive in 2022, but they have a solid foundation to build around in Fields. I also think it's safe to say that Fields is the best quarterback in the NFC North regardless of what happens with the Bears.
Aaron Rodgers is a Grumpy Old Man Now
We don't know if Rodgers is officially leaving Green Bay yet, but the speculation is running amuck. For the moment, let's assume he doesn't leave and plays next season in the 'Waste-Management' civvies. On The Herd, Colin Cowherd compared Rodgers to Brett Favre and how closely their careers panned out. Toward the end of Favre's time in Green Bay, he consistently pondered life outside the Packers' organization, and without a plethora of postseason wins, it's easy to see why.
This kind of conflict doesn't mean the Packers will be bad next year, but they're in salary cap hell and their stars are unhappy. They could potentially lose Rodgers, Davante Adams, and other key roster pieces.
Whatever is going on in Aaron's head, we know his focus is waning. He's already on the train of thought out of Green Bay even if he plays there in 2022. That being said, his performance next year won't be nearly as close to the MVP level he reached in 2020 and 2021. With the right pieces in place, Justin Fields will steal the QB throne from Rodgers in the NFC North.
I sincerely believe there's fire behind all this smoke and Rodgers will leave Green Bay this offseason. Where he lands is a mystery, but that's not important for Chicago Bears fans as long as he's out of the NFC North. If that scenario comes to fruition, Justin Fields is next in line to pave the road for quarterback excellence in the division.
Justin Fields: QB1 and King in the North
We know the names: Jared Goff and Kirk Cousins. Neither poses a significant threat to the throne with Fields' name on it. The Vikings spent a lot of money on Cousins and look where it's gotten them. Not much further than where they were with Case Keenum.
The Detroit Lions traded away their pride and joy in Matthew Stafford but got Jared Goff in return. His 3,200-plus passing yards in 2021 don't scare me at all when Detroit has 'kneecap-nelly' leading the pirate ship. The secret is out: Dan Campbell can bark all he wants but a sinking ship isn't going to raid very far.
So how will Justin Fields fare in his second NFL season? A great deal of his performance depends on who the Chicago Bears bring in as their offensive coordinator. Ryan Poles made a good decision in hiring Matt Eberflus as head coach. This organization thrives on defense and has always been known to do so. They need to get back to that elite level, but having several defensive building blocks means the goal is within reach.
The rumors circling around who the Bears bring in as offensive coordinator offer hope. Will the Packers' own Luke Getsy come to Chicago and turn Fields into a top-five QB? It's certainly plausible and those possibilities are exciting.
We cannot crown Justin Fields yet, but we can certainly set our expectations reasonably. Is he the best quarterback in the NFC North if Aaron Rodgers is out of the picture? Maybe or maybe not. But the future looks bright and greatness is on the horizon. Fields just needs the right someone with the right map.