LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears are projected to land the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL draft and could choose from a strong pool of quarterback prospects. The possibility isn't lost on Justin Fields.
Asked Wednesday whether it was fair to weigh the final five games of the season into his evaluation as a potential long-term option in Chicago, the 24-year-old Bears quarterback said he won't stress about circumstances that are out of his hands.
"I mean, life isn't fair," Fields said. "I'm just focused on what I can control, and the rest is in God's hands.
"Wherever, if I'm here next year, if I'm not, football doesn't define who I am as a person. My happiness will still be in the same place, will still be in God."
Fields' inconsistent production in eight starts this season complicates the Bears' evaluation of the third-year quarterback. Though he has improved in several statistical categories, such as completion percentage (64.4) and passer rating (92.3) -- both career highs -- and has increased his passing yards per game while decreasing his sack percentage, his QBR of 45.1 is 23rd and the Bears are 4-8 entering Week 14. They were 2-2 while Fields nursed a dislocated right thumb and undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent started.
How Fields performs in his next five games will factor into whether the Bears move forward with the former first-round pick, who was drafted by a previous front office and coaching staff, or potentially use the No. 1 pick on USC's Caleb Williams, North Carolina's Drake Maye or another quarterback prospect. The Bears will have their own top pick and that of the 1-11 Panthers, due to trading the 2023 No. 1 pick to Carolina. ESPN's Football Power Index gives the Bears a 76.5% chance to pick No. 1 overall.
"I'm really just trying to be consistent; I think that's the biggest thing," Fields said. "You can play good one game, play bad the other. So me personally, it's just trying to be consistent and trying to be better than I was yesterday."
Fields said he is used to hearing criticism about his performance and speculation about his future. He remains confident that no matter what path the Bears choose in 2024, he has a future in the NFL.
"Shoot, since I got to Chicago, y'all don't hold back," Fields said. "I hear it from y'all, I hear it from fans and stuff like that. I don't take any of it personal, because I know everybody's entitled to their opinion on certain things and stuff like that. That's one thing I try to do is not take anything personal, and just go about it that way.
"I've had moments in my life to where I've wanted things to happen that didn't go that way, and it ended up going another way and it worked out better than I ever could have imagined. That's really why I just don't stress about stuff that happens, and just controlling what I control and like I said earlier just being the best person I can be and striving to be the best player I can be."