The Bears signed Evans, 25, immediately after he was released from the Miami Dolphins in October.
He joined a running back room filled to the brim with talent and roster space. Khalil Herbert, Roschon Johnson, D’Onta Foreman and Travis Homer represented the room. Upon the former two — Herbert and Johnson — being simultaneously sidelined with separate injuries, the Bears brought in Evans.
He thrived in the three games he earned respectable action, rushing for 80 combined yards against the Raiders and the Vikings over a two-week stretch. Against the Chargers in late October, he scored a rushing touchdown, too.
Evans also played for the Bears last season, rushing for 64 yards from 14 attempts scattered over six games.
The most significant decision the Bears will undoubtedly face this offseason is whether or not they believe in Justin Fields enough to make him the starting quarterback going forward.
For one ex-NFL player, LeSean McCoy, he’s seen enough from Fields to suggest the Bears move on from him.
“It’s been over. I don’t know what they’re waiting for,” McCoy said. “They had a chance to get a quarterback with the No. 1 pick last year, and what did they do with it?
They said ‘We’re gonna pass on that. We’re gonna keep Justin Fields.’
But then, to his credit, they gave him a No. 1 receiver in DJ Moore, who’s really, really good. Offensive linemen, right? So I get what they were trying to do.
“The biggest jump in football is from Year 1 to Year 2. From Year 2 to Year 3, we should see even more of a jump and we haven’t seen it.
The Bears had the same thing last year with the first pick in the draft. Don’t mess it up again.
There’s a kid named Caleb Williams. He may cry sometimes but boy he can play. Boy he can win. A lot of talent.
Go out there and get him. Do not make the same mistake again.”
McCoy’s counterpart, James Jones, begged to differ with McCoy. He characterized the Fields’ situation as a “tough decision” for the Bears.
Jones appreciated what he saw from Fields before a thumb injury took him out of the picture for four weeks.
For reference, Fields threw for 617 yards and eight touchdowns between two straight weeks against the Denver Broncos and Washington Commanders.
Against the Vikings the following week, he injured his thumb and was forced out of the game; not before, however, he struggled to get anything going on offense, throwing for 58 yards through nearly three quarters.
Still, between those two weeks, Fields catapulted himself to the top of the charts in several categories i.e. he was fifth in touchdowns at one point amongst all NFL quarterbacks.
Fields’ thumb injury undoubtedly hurt his evaluations for the season. He’s missed four straight weeks of games.
The Bears were forced to rely on Tyson Bagent, who the cast above used to prove Fields’ unworthiness as the starting quarterback.
Bagent has two wins in his last four starts. Fields has just two wins in his last 18 starts under center.
As for Caleb Williams, the USC quarterback’s name has been attached to the Bears most of this season.
The Bears currently own the rights to the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL draft on account of owning the Panthers’ first-round pick in the draft.
It’s possible the Bears will have the chance to draft the gunslinger out of Southern California.
Some pundits have lost a bit of faith in Williams on account of a few poor performances this season. But ex-NFL quarterback and film savant, J.T. O’Sullivan, recently said he hasn’t lost faith in Williams.
“I would’ve written down ‘Caleb Williams no matter what’ in July and I still feel the same way,” O’Sullivan said. “I think he’s that good of a player.
I think people love to toss around the term ‘generational talent.’ I don’t really care about phrases like that.
I think he’s by far the best college football player.
I think he’s gonna be an outstanding NFL player. I hope he goes to a situation that allows him to thrive. We’ll see what happens.”
Are the Bears preparing to move on from Fields?
Head coach Matt Eberflus said earlier this week he believes the next seven weeks is a chance for Fields to show some consistency.
“I think seven weeks is enough time to show consistency and being the high performer that we expect him to be,” Eberflus said.
“I know he’s had some good performances along this year, certainly the last few have been solid. We expect consistency out of all our positions.”