Bears' Justin Fields worried about wins, not his contract

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- If all goes well for Justin Fields during his third NFL season, the Chicago Bears quarterback could join the ranks of Jalen Hurts and Lamar Jackson with a lucrative contract extension next offseason.

All rookies are extension eligible after their third season, while teams can exercise fifth-year options on first-round draft picks (Fields was chosen 11th overall by Chicago in 2021) ahead of a player's fourth season.

Fields' future hinges on how successful he is this fall. That's not lost on the 24-year-old quarterback, who says his future earnings are currently the furthest thing from his mind.

"I'm not worried about contracts, I'm worried about wins," Fields said. "I could care less."

Coming off a 3-14 season in which the Bears owned the NFL's worst passing offense at 130.5 yards per game, Chicago is prioritizing Fields' growth as a passer. Fields completed 60.4% of his passes for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 games in 2022.

That emphasis is reflected in the additions the Bears made to their crop of pass-catchers this offseason, including wide receivers DJ Moore and rookie Tyler Scott along with tight end Robert Tonyan.

After finishing the 2022 season 64 yards shy of breaking Jackson's single-season quarterback rushing record, Fields expressed disappointment in not being able to reach a historical landmark but said he'd rather one day set a passing record.

Whether it's statistical milestones or a potential extension months from now, Fields' approach to the upcoming season remains the same.

"Every year's a big year," Fields said. "I don't really have anything to expand on that. For me, every year's a big year and I'm excited to show it."

Following the Bears' second OTA practice on Tuesday, the quarterback addressed the multitude of moves made by the Chicago front office since March. Fields expressed excitement over the addition of Moore, who was traded to Chicago by Carolina in a package of draft picks in exchange for the No. 1 overall pick.

"DJ brings great talent to this team -- just his personality, it fits in well with everybody really from the first day he got here," Fields said. "He's a hard worker, a great player. His personality, I think just the way he acts around the guys, he just fits in really well with our team. Definitely excited about that."

Before the Bears pulled off the trade that netted the Panthers the draft's top pick to select quarterback Bryce Young, speculation centered on whether Chicago would retain the top pick and draft a quarterback. Fields was not drafted by Bears general manager Ryan Poles, who spent the offseason backing his belief in Fields with a bevy of offensive additions.

While Poles said the Bears did their due diligence on all four of the draft's top QBs -- Young, C.J. Stroud, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis -- Fields said the thought of Chicago drafting a quarterback No. 1 overall never crossed his mind.

"No, not really," he said. Instead, the investment shown by the Bears in Fields' future speaks volumes to the quarterback.

"It's awesome for me getting that trust from the coaching staff," Fields said. "You guys don't see it, but we communicate here all the time, we trust each other fully. Just having them behind me, they know the kind of leader I am to my teammates, they know how great I want to be, the work I put in. It's just great to have them behind my back for sure."

During their second OTA practice, Fields displayed his deep ball connection with Moore in 11-on-11. Their chemistry is still a "work in progress," according to Moore, who doesn't think it will take long for the two to get on the same page.

"How long? I want to say probably to the end of OTAs and through minicamp and then starting back up, you know you got that break, and then you got to start it all over again," Moore said. "Going into training camp, probably about two to three days to get back on track where we ended in OTAs."

Fields expressed a level of comfort during the Bears' voluntary offseason program that he said he did not feel in 2022 when tasked with learning a brand-new offense.

"It's truly amazing when you have that feeling going in, knowing where your guys are going to be, more comfortable with the footwork stuff," Fields said.

That's something offensive coordinator Luke Getsy noticed from the QB as well, recently claiming that Fields is "light years ahead of where he was" at this point last year.

Those who are getting to witness Fields' command of the offense for the first time -- even players on defense -- have been impressed by the quarterback's leadership on and off the field.

"Tremendous athlete," linebacker Tremaine Edmunds said. "Obviously he's a lot bigger than I thought he was. Obviously, I played against him last year, but seeing him every day, hard worker, leader. You can see that he makes guys around him better. He leads from the front. His work obviously speaks for itself. Just seeing him go out there every day and grow, develop, spreading the ball around, just his thinking. I'm seeing it firsthand and I'm excited. They got a lot of good things going on the offensive side. With his leadership and ... obviously his playmaking abilities, it's something to be excited about for sure."