The Bears still won’t commit to either Nathan Peterman or Tyson Bagent as their backup quarterback, but they’ve hinted which way they’re leaning as Week 1 against the Packers approaches. On the team’s first official depth chart of the season, they’ve got Peterman listed as QB2.
“We haven't made a final decision but that's where we're leaning to now for this first game,” said head coach Matt Eberflus. “We'll see where it goes during the course of the week and we certainly reserve the right to make any adjustments as we need to going forward.”
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Going into training camp it seemed like free agent acquisition P.J. Walker was destined to backup Justin Fields this year. GM Ryan Poles signed him to a two-year deal worth over $4 million, with over $2 million guaranteed, according to Spotrac. But Walker struggled throughout the summer and the Bears opted to cut ties with Walker and move forward with Peterman and Bagent.
That’s led to some healthy debate about who should be the man to take over in case Fields goes out. Should the team go with Peterman, the guy who has six years of NFL experience but who has a lower ceiling? Or do they go with Bagent, the D-II phenom from Shepherd who impressed enough to earn a roster spot, but who is still learning the ropes as a pro?
For now the prudent move seems to be to use Peterman as the primary backup, especially early in the season while Bagent continues to get his feet under him. But if Fields misses an extended amount of time, or if he goes out closer to the middle or end of the year, the move may be to give Bagent a shot. After all, the undrafted free agent rookie has done nothing but exceed expectations up to this point. If the team knows Fields is going to be out several weeks and has time to prepare for another QB to take over, why not give Bagent a shot to show what he’s got. Bagent is on this team because he’s proven he belongs in the NFL, and it’s up to the Bears to develop him. The best way to both help Bagent grow and evaluate him moving forward is to see him play on Sundays.