How do Jalen Carter’s legal issues affect the Bears plans for Justin Fields? | You Pod to Win the Game

Yahoo Sports NFL Writers Charles Robinson and Jori Epstein talk about Georgia DT Jalen Carter’s legal issues tied to street racing, and debate how the news may change the Bears plans on what to do with the No. 1 pick and with QB Justin Fields.

Video transcript

CHARLES ROBINSON: From the Bears' perspective, I think it complicates the Bears' situation now. Because, again, coming in, I had a chance to talk to someone with the team. And it was clear this was a player that they were really, really liked, thought top echelon defender, elite-level defensive prospect in this draft. If we stay put, hey, that kid's going to be in the conversation at number one. If we trade out, maybe he's in the conversation for someone trading in. Maybe, then, how far we move back or whatever, he remains a target for us.

So it definitely, certainly complicates things for the Bears, and then, also, anyone else. Say Detroit was sitting there at six going, hmm, we don't necessarily feel like we need to get a quarterback at six, or maybe even deeper in the draft. I think, what, they have the 18th pick as well.

Maybe we package these, and try to move up to one, and get this elite defensive tackle who, then, we can sit next to Aidan Hutchinson on the defensive line. I mean, even for teams that were potentially looking at him and moving, that complicates things for the Bears now. Because everything kind of hits the brakes and shifts the focus to something else that may take-- what, we're talking about March 1st right now?

I mean, this might take weeks. It might take months for teams to have a full picture of--

JORI EPSTEIN: On a related note that is not about Jalen Carter specifically but about that top overall pick, since that's tied so closely with Jalen Carter, I heard something yesterday just kind of walking the halls of the common that I'm really curious if you agree with. There was someone who was saying, hey, with the price of a quarterback on their second contract in today's NFL, the Bears should absolutely-- and I know this isn't the first time someone said this-- but the Bears should absolutely trade Justin Fields away and go get another quarterback.

Because they need those years on the price tag. Do you not think that-- to me, I was like, are you crazy? Do you not see that the Sam Darnold, the Josh Rosen, the-- what's it called-- Baker Mayfield who had some good years, but not a lot of good years, just the number of number-one overall picks who are no longer in that position and way less time?

CHARLES ROBINSON: I think teams might start considering what you're saying is at times going, well, how can we get creative and put off the clock on the second contract longer? And if you're the Bears, you're sitting there staring at Justin Fields and going, he may have trade value right now. So we could still take a quarterback. We gain assets in trading Justin Fields.

And then we also gain another two. We start the clock again. So, hey, we draft Bryce Young. Now, we have a three-year fresh clock to not only use the assets we just gained in Justin Fields. So what you're doing is you're sort of trading for time, you know? You're trading Justin Fields not just for assets. But you're also trading Justin Fields for the aspect of time.

Now, we don't have to think about paying this guy after next year. Because, hey, it's there years. And I kind of get that. I mean, that's why I do think there's a jarring aspect of what's going to happen with Danny Jones? What's going to happen with Geno Smith? Because that has not been sorted out.

As much as we talk about the Herbert, Burrow, Lamar, all those deals that are going to be explosive and huge, there's this whole other conversation where it's important, the deal that Geno Smith does. It's important, the deal that Daniel Jones does. Because it sets some kind of this middle expectation. And I don't know.

The teams are so quarterback needy, it's hard for me to believe this could happen. But we could have this separation where you have the super, uber rich, uber expensive quarterbacks, a kind of a void, and then teams trying to-- I don't want to say collude, but maybe collude, and push the second-tier quarterback numbers back into the 30s, not make the second-tier quarterbacks all $40 million players. It's going to be complicated.

But I do think that's interesting. I mean do you, realistically, see them trading Fields? I mean, it does not seem to be anything that is on their mind. I'll put it that way.

JORI EPSTEIN: Yeah, it also goes back to that question of, are you trying to be good, and competitive, and get really close to a lot of years? Or are you satisfied with one all-in year? Obviously, the whole idea of, are you going to go full Rams? I mean, then the Rams have their fall after.

Which do you want, on balance, for your team? If you're the Chicago Bears, and you've got this new stadium coming, how much do you need to keep team interest up year by year? Or if it's not coming for five years, where you're like, oh, let's just get there, it really is interesting. And I know that Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will tell you that just because you tear down doesn't mean that you have a better chance of rebuilding and getting all the way up, which, obviously, a lot of other teams would agree with, I imagine.

But it's like, just this philosophy of, if you have really good-- but I don't know. What would you do if you were the Bears? Because if I have Justin Fields, I don't think I'm trading him.

CHARLES ROBINSON: It depends on what your--

JORI EPSTEIN: If your pick doesn't go well, you're not keeping your job.

CHARLES ROBINSON: Yeah, I think it depends on what your assessment is as a quarterbacks. So I go back to when the Cardinals took Kyler Murray. People can say whatever they want about Kyler Murray. The Cardinals made the right call with the number one pick. They looked at Josh Rosen and said, nope, we've had them for a year. We definitely don't believe he's the guy.

And so we're going to go ahead and pull the plug on that. And we're going to go with the better quarterback.