The most pressing offseason item on Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles’ offseason to-do list was adding a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver for quarterback Justin Fields. He accomplished that goal with the trade for DJ Moore, the former Carolina Panthers star who somehow managed three seasons with more than 1,100 receiving yards despite playing with a platoon of misfit quarterbacks throughout his career.
Now, Moore has Fields… and Fields has Moore. It’s a combination that should produce fireworks in 2023, but in order to build a connection on Sundays in the fall, Fields is putting in the time to get to know Moore right now.
“His first night here, I went out to eat with him and his family,” Fields told ChicagoBears.com. “That was cool to get to know him a little bit. We didn’t know each other that well at that point, but the more time we’ve spent with each other the more comfortable we’ve gotten around each other. He’s a great person and, of course, a great football player.”
Moore entered the league as a first-round pick in 2018 and instantly became one of the league’s most exciting players with the ball in his hands. He’s totaled 364 catches for 5,201 yards and 21 touchdowns through five seasons in the league, but with a playmaker like Fields throwing passes to him, there’s no telling how productive he can be moving forward.
“I’ve known DJ for a little bit now,” Fields said. “I can tell he loves the game, he’s a hard worker and, of course, he’s talented. He’s proven that over the past few years playing with the Panthers. So, it’s great to have him; another weapon to add to our offense. He’s going to bring a lot of energy, a lot of leadership to the room. Everybody’s excited to have him, so it’s going to be fun.”
It certainly feels like Moore is the key that will unlock Fields’ superstar upside. In 2022, Fields was forced to target players like Dante Pettis and Nsimba Webster. With all due respect to those guys, neither are considered starting-quality NFL receivers.
For the first time in his young career, Justin Fields has a plethora of weapons in the passing game. Moore, Chase Claypool, Darnell Mooney, and rookie Tyler Scott will all pay dividends this season and represent marked upgrades from the receivers Fields has thrown to over the last two years.
And with that talent comes the end of any excuses for Fields, who’s working hard to improve his game for a critical 2023 season in his long-term evaluation.
“Just being more consistent with my quick game stuff,” he said of his offseason focus. “I feel like down the field I’m pretty accurate. Just being more consistent with getting the ball out faster, being more accurate, giving my wide receivers, my running backs, tight ends a better chance to catch the ball and run for extra yards. I’m focusing pretty hard on that this offseason.”