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Justin Fields may have won over the Chicago Bears' locker room in his polarizing three seasons under center. Yet the former first-round quarterback now appears closer than ever to being traded, with general manager Ryan Poles all but signaling a move while addressing reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine Tuesday.

"It just depends on what opportunities pop up," Poles said when asked if he'd prefer to trade Fields early in free agency, presuming the Bears are planning to reset at quarterback atop the 2024 NFL Draft. "I will say this: If we go down that road, I wanna do right by Justin as well. No one wants to live in gray. I know that's uncomfortable. I wouldn't wanna be in that situation either. So we'll gather the information. We'll move as quickly as possible. We're not gonna be in a rush. And (we'll) see what presents itself and what's best for the organization."

That, of course, is not an admission a decision has been made. It is, however, a clear admission that not only is a Fields trade possible, but Poles already has designs of "doing right" by Fields in prospective trade talks. Put simply, the Bears aren't hiding from the fact they could -- and likely will -- use the No. 1 pick on Fields' successor, repeatedly acknowledging the "uncomfortable" nature of the situation for their current quarterback. If Fields were otherwise locked in as their quarterback of the future, there'd be no need for such talk.

"I've been in contact with his team and let them know kinda what we're looking at," Poles said of his communication with Fields, "how things might play out, and that we'll continue to communicate. ... It's part of this business. It is a unique situation."

Fields, for his part, has said he'd like to remain with the Bears, who drafted him No. 11 overall in 2021, but also desires an end to rampant speculation about his standing with the team. Chicago has entertained interest in the No. 1 pick this year, Poles added, but wouldn't surrender it for anything other than monumental compensation. All indications are the team will retain the selection and target one of this year's consensus top QB prospects, such as USC's Caleb Williams.