Justin Fields’ potential trade destinations include Patriots, Giants

The first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period came to a close Monday night, and offered some clarity on the game of quarterback musical chairs. As dawn broke on Tuesday Kirk Cousins was an Atlanta Falcon, Gardner Minshew was a Las Vegas Raider, Sam Darnold was a Minnesota Viking.

And Justin Fields was still waiting on his future.

The music is slowing down and the potential landing spots are dwindling. Where might the former first-round pick end up?

Here are some of the remaining options.

New York Giants

The Giants are in a tricky spot when it comes to the quarterback position entering the 2024 season. After signing Daniel Jones to a new contract a year ago — following a surprising run to the playoffs — Jones and the Giants took a step back a season ago. Jones missed significant time last year, due to a neck injury that caused him to miss three games, and then a season-ending knee injury. Jones played in just six games, throwing just a pair of touchdowns and six interceptions in those games.

New York has the No. 6 overall selection, so they could be in position to draft a quarterback. But given the three QB-needy teams at the top of the draft (Chicago, Washington, and New England) as well as the number of QB-needy teams through the draft, the Giants might be looking at QB4 … if they can draft a QB at all in that spot.

That makes Fields an option for the team, whether to compete with Jones or as the starter if the team moves on from Jones, to compete with perhaps a rookie the Giants draft on Day Two.

So perhaps the approach would be to swing a trade for Fields ahead of the draft, and then keep their options open as the draft itself approaches.

New England Patriots

The Patriots are in a similar position to the organization that defeated them in a pair of Super Bowls.

With Mac Jones on his way to the AFC South, the Patriots are firmly in the quarterback market. New England reached an agreement with veteran Jacoby Brissett on the first day of the league’s legal tampering period, which gives the team an option, but that is likely not the only move the organization will make at the position.

New England has been linked with a few different quarterbacks in the draft class, such as Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy, and Drake Maye. But there is another path available to the Patriots, one that involves the team adding another experienced quarterback through free agency or the draft, and then selecting the best player available with the third-overall pick.

For example, New England could part with a third-round pick for Fields — more on his trade value in a minute — and draft Marvin Harrison Jr. with that third pick. Suddenly that Patriots offense has a little more juice than it did a season ago.

Denver Broncos

I mean … it is an option.

With Russell Wilson on his way to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Broncos have a need at the quarterback position. Denver is sitting at No. 12 in the upcoming draft, which likely puts them out of range for the top quarterbacks in the class, but players like Michael Penix Jr. or Bo Nix could be options for them either at that spot, or in the second round.

Or, they could go in a different direction, and see what Sean Payton can do with Fields for a year or two.

The biggest question mark would be the scheme fit. Wilson struggled in the system Payton implemented in Denver a season ago, but perhaps Fields would be able to run the offense — and trust Payton’s coaching — better than what we saw in Denver a season ago.

Options as a backup

Given how the market seems to be slowing for Fields, we could be approaching a world where the focus shifts from finding a landing spot as a starter, to finding a landing spot as an upper-level backup.

There are a few options down this road for Fields.

Philadelphia Eagles

With the news Tuesday morning that Marcus Mariota was on his way to the Washington Commanders, there is currently a spot in Philadelphia behind Jalen Hurts.

Could Fields be that option for the Eagles?

General Manager Howie Roseman has often used the phrase “QB factory” to describe how he views the Eagles. “We are quarterback developers. We want to be a quarterback factory,” said Roseman when the team drafted Hurts despite still having Carson Wentz on the roster. Fields would be a solid fit in the offense the Eagles have designed for Hurts, and with backup now a need in Philadelphia, this could be an option for the Eagles.

Los Angeles Rams

Speaking of Wentz …

Matthew Stafford is entrenched as the starter in Los Angeles. But behind him, there are question marks. The team added Wentz during the season last fall, but he is now a free agent. The team drafted Stetson Bennett a year ago, but the former Georgia quarterback was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list last September and missed the year.

Head coach Sean McVay has worked some magic with new quarterbacks in the past — perhaps most recently with Baker Mayfield for a few games during the 2022 season — and Fields could be the next on that list. And as we will discuss in a moment, there is a bit of a relationship here …

Indianapolis Colts

Anthony Richardson is expected to be back from a shoulder injury that cut his rookie season short. But with Minshew now on his way to the Raiders, there is an opening behind Richardson in the Colts’ QB room.

That could make Fields an ideal option. He would fit in the offense that Shane Steichen has put in place for Richardson, and should the starter go down Fields would be able to keep Indianapolis afloat.

San Francisco 49ers

Now this could be interesting …

With Darnold heading to Minnesota there is a spot behind Brock Purdy open in San Francisco. There is also a pre-existing relationship here as Kyle Shanahan — along with Mike McDaniel and McVay — is part of the “QB Collective,” a quarterback training group that looks to prepare passers for running pro-style offenses.

That is a program Fields attended earlier in his career.

There is, of course, another option …

Chicago Bears

Could the Bears decide to hang onto Fields, and trade out of the first-overall spot?

This seems unlikely at the moment, given the way the rumors are swirling around Caleb Williams and the Bears. Everything seems to be trending in the direction of the Bears sitting at No. 1 and drafting a QB, likely the USC passer.

But if the trade market for Fields is truly crumbling as it appears, the Bears might be left in position where trading him is not an option, and instead they keep Fields as their backup behind — or to compete with — the quarterback they draft in the first spot.

Just what is Fields’ trade value right now?

This seems to be a critical aspect to the current discussion.

As it seems the trade value for Fields is decreasing by the day.

Consider this sequence of tweets from earlier this week:

At this point, it looks like the Bears might have to accept a Day Three pick, perhaps a conditional selection that could increase to a Day Two pick should Fields meet playing time thresholds with his new team.

But the idea of Chicago getting something close to what the New York Jets got for Darnold, for example, seems to be far-fetched at the moment.

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