CHICAGO, Ill. - Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re back-to-back champs, and are officially Super Bowl 58 Champions.
The best team stepped up at the biggest moment of the year.
The celebrations will take place, plenty of jubilee will be had and the Super Bowl champions will get their deserved praise.
Come one week from now, the focus officially turns to next season.
The beginning of the next NFL season will be shaped by the Chicago Bears.
It’s difficult to imagine a time before when the Bears were this much of a headliner in the National Football League.
Ever since the Bears locked up the No. 1 overall selection after the Panthers fell to Jacksonville on New Year’s Eve, the chatter and discussions have revolved around what the Bears will do.
This is fair, considering what happens with the Bears will reverberate through the rest of the league.
When quarterbacks are the topic of discussion, you’re talking about the future of franchises and their eventual faces. These are the decisions that decide if teams are contenders or pretenders.
In the Bears case, do they move on from Justin Fields or select Caleb Williams.
Whatever decision is made shifts the decisions for so many other teams.
The New England Patriots are reportedly looking to move on from Mac Jones and draft a quarterback. Will the Minnesota Vikings get Kirk Cousins back for another year? At some point, the Atlanta Falcons have to decide between Taylor Heinicke, Desmond Ridder or moving on to a third option.
The Las Vegas Raiders will add a quarterback, too, first-year head coach Antonio Pierce told Rich Eisen.
"I think Aidan O’Connell put himself into a position that whoever we bring in, he should battle," Pierce said on The Rich Eisen Show.
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 05: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball against the Washington Commanders during the second quarter at FedExField on October 05, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)
Whoever the Raiders bring it will depend on the Bears.
It could be Fields himself if the Bears select Williams. Fields would most likely be traded somewhere. It could have to be someone like Michael Penix or Bo Nix, should the Bears keep Fields and allow the draft to play out.
Or, the Bears could keep both Fields and Williams. That would really throw a curveball.
You’ll see plenty of projections. Plenty of experts will have their take on it.
They did the same last season, but it wasn’t to this magnitude. Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels are arguably better pro prospects than Bryce Young and CJ Stroud were at this point last year.
Considering how Stroud turned out, leading the Houston Texans from second-worst in the league in 2022 to a playoff berth in 2023, perhaps more teams are more interested in pursuing a rookie as opposed to trying to roll with a veteran.
Whatever the case may be, the bottom line is the Bears dictate the flow of the quarterback movement this offseason.
The first curve comes in the next few weeks with the NFL Scouting Combine where Williams, Maye, Daniels, Penix and Nix will begin being evaluated by NFL teams. That continues into Pro Days and pre-draft interviews.
There could be as many as six teams moving on from their quarterbacks this offseason. That’s six decisions that could alter the future of the NFL.
The evaluations are going to be lengthy, but they should be. You can make the case the Bears have never gotten the quarterback position right outside of Jim McMahon, though injuries derailed his potential. Bears GM Ryan Poles promised as such.
"We are going to turn every stone to make sure that we are going to make a sound decision for our organization," Poles said in January. "There is a unique situation."
It all starts in Chicago.
Are you ready for it?