The Chicago Bears wrapped their 2022 season, where they finished 3-14 and lost their final 10 games of the year. But the future is bright heading into this 2023 offseason, as GM Ryan Poles has the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, a boatload of salary cap space and a franchise quarterback in Justin Fields.
Over the next few weeks, we'll be counting down our 15 Most Impactful Bears for the 2022 season. We'll recap their 2022 season and look ahead to how they factor into 2023.
It should come as no surprise that Fields lands the top spot on our list, considering he was the team's most electrifying player and somehow made a 3-14 season exciting.
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
Experience: 2nd year
2022 cap hit: $4.29 million
Quinn Harris/Getty Images
192-of-318 (60.4%) for 2,242 yards, 17 touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 85.2 rating
160 carries, 1,143 yards, 8 touchdowns
Nic Antaya/Getty Images
Only Fields could make a three-win season a thrilling one that kept Bears fans on the edge of their seats. Honestly, Fields is probably the thing that kept fans from checking out well before season's end. Sure, Chicago had the worst passing game in the league from Week 1 to Week 18. Yes, Fields didn't pass for more than 254 yards in a single game last season. But when looking at his weak supporting cast, it's a wonder that Fields had the kind of impact he had as a whole for this team. And Fields did make strides as a passer, despite what others will try to dispute.
Fields established himself as one of the NFL's most electrifying players, and he made great strides in his second season, particularly when it comes to his natural playmaking ability. Whether it was by design or self-preservation (usually the latter), Fields discovered that he's an elite rusher to the tune of 1,143 yards, which fell just 64 yards short of Lamar Jackson's single-season rushing record. There was a stretch where Fields had this struggling offense averaging 30 points per game, where he seemed to be making NFL history on an almost weekly basis. That included rushing for 178 yards - the most ever by a quarterback in a regular season game - against the Dolphins. In fact, Fields cleats now sit in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports
The future is bright for Fields, despite all of these hot takes that want you to believe the Bears would willingly trade away their first franchise quarterback in a long time. Instead, this offseason will be about building around Fields - whether that's getting him help on the offensive side of the ball or addressing weaknesses on the defense to help make this a more well-rounded roster, which should be a quarterback's best friend.
When you look at the jumps some young quarterbacks have made between Year 2 and Year 3, there's no denying this is an important season for Fields. While Fields has established himself as an elite runner of the football, he knows he needs to get better as a passer. And there's nowhere to go but up after Chicago had the league's worst passing game. Granted, shoring up the offensive line, adding some more playmakers on offense and another year in Luke Getsy's scheme should do Fields wonders. There's a reason Bears fans are so optimistic coming off a 3-14 season, and that's because Chicago found its guy in Fields. Now, the fun begins.
15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022
We're counting down our 15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022. Check back every day.
Story originally appeared on Bears Wire
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