The Bears (6-10) announced Thursday they’re putting rookie quarterback Justin Fields on their reserve/COVID-19 list.
It means Fields won’t play in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.
#Bears roster move:
We have placed QB Justin Fields on Reserve/COVID-19.
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) January 6, 2022
Head coach Matt Nagy announced Friday that Andy Dalton is expected to start in Fields’ place in a game with zero playoff implications.
Dalton is scheduled to make his sixth start of the 2021 season.
Nick Foles is set to back up Dalton.
The Bears were planning to start Fields against the Vikings.
After Fields missed two games with an ankle injury, he returned to practice Wednesday with limitations.
“You can’t predict any of these COVID situations,” Nagy said. “It’s what we’re all dealing with right now, everywhere. Finding out when we did with Justin, it’s a part of this deal. Justin was super eager to get out [and play]. He had a great day of practice, and this is a part of how it goes. So, we’ve just got to be able to react to it, and that’s why we feel good about having Andy and Nick here.”
There is a small chance the Bears could remove Fields from the COVID list before kickoff on Sunday if he’s asymptomatic and receives multiple negative test results.
However, it’s unlikely the rookie would play against the Vikings after missing practice Thursday and Friday.
“We’ve discussed that,” Nagy said. “I think the odds of that happening, I don’t know where that stands. We would discuss where that’s at and how that would go. But right now, the big thing is getting the practice reps. I think that’s the biggest thing the last two days; not having them would probably prevent that from happening.”
Fields is set to finish his rookie season having started 10 of the 12 games he played.
The Bears are 2-8 in games Fields has started.
Fields completed 58.9% of his throws for 1,870 yards, seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 73.2 passer rating.
The first-round pick out of Ohio State also had 72 carries for 420 yards and two touchdowns.
Fields was sacked 36 times and lost four of 12 fumbles.
Entering Week 18, the Bears rank last in the NFL at 183.8 passing yards per game.
Fields’ best game in the 2021 season came in a 29-27 loss on Nov. 8 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the “Monday Night Football” game, Fields threw for a career-high 291 yards and helped the Bears erase a 20-6 fourth-quarter deficit.
With 1:46 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Bears took a 27-26 lead after Fields threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney.
FIELDS TO MOONEY. #DaBears
— NFL (@NFL) November 9, 2021
Fields cracked his ribs in the next game against the Ravens, which forced him to miss the next two games.
On Dec. 20 in the Bears’ first matchup against the Vikings, Fields suffered his ankle injury.
With Nagy not expected to retain his job beyond the 2021 season, it remains to be seen who will facilitate Fields’ growth in the 2022 season.
The Bears could also look to make changes to their front office in the offseason.
However, a report surfaced earlier this week that general manager Ryan Pace is expected to retain his job.
The report stated that Pace could possibly even get promoted to a president role overseeing football operations.