The Chicago Bears have a quarterback controversy. Do not worry, it is not about QB1. Justin Fields is firmly entrenched there.
Instead, it is at the backup spot. P.J. Walker has struggled mightily in the preseason while rookie undrafted free agent Tyson Bagent has shined.
Walker completed just one pass for six yards during the Chicago Bears’ second preseason game. Meanwhile, Bagent completed nine of 10 passes for 76 yards and ran for a touchdown.
Suddenly, we have a good old-fashioned battle for the backup quarterback position.
Tyson Bagent has been a great find for the Chicago Bears so far.
Chicago is a sports town that has historically believed the backup quarterback is better than the starter. The logic behind that premise is a lineage of awful quarterback play for seven decades.
A majority of the Chicago Bears fan base is behind Justin Fields. He is a dynamic playmaking quarterback who just needs to improve at getting the ball out of his hands quicker.
Fields takes a lot of unnecessary hits with his mobility and his tendency to hold onto the ball too long. There is a good chance Fields will not take every snap during the regular season.
That is why the backup quarterback spot is valuable. Walker’s struggles combined with Bagent balling out have the masses calling for Tyler’s ascension to QB2.
It begs the question, who is this guy? Bagent completed over 1400 passes for 17,034 yards and 159 touchdown passes in five years at Division II Shepherd University. That touchdown passing mark is the all-time college football record at any level.
He threw just 48 interceptions in that time. He won the Harlon Hill Trophy in 2021 which is like winning the Heisman at the D-II level.
You can say comment about how he played Division II competition.
Shepherd plays in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference which is considered one of the best conferences in D2. Kutztown University and Indiana (PA) University have sent a couple of players to the NFL.
Bagent had a three-game stretch last season where he completed 80% or more of his passes. He also won two state titles in high school for Martinsburg High School in West Virginia. Despite that success, he was an unranked college recruit.
Bagent’s dad played baseball at Shepherd and is a former arm-wrestling champion.
Bagent impressed Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy at the Senior Bowl. Bagent was one of the quarterbacks on the squad Getsy head coached.
Tyler’s draft profile described him as a very good intermediate passer with a quick release. His problem was he tended to stare down his targets, not go through his progressions, and his arm strength. He did run a 4.79 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
One of the reasons he did not get drafted was the level of competition despite having good tape.
Bagent is the ideal developmental quarterback the Bears have neglected to bring in.
A team should typically go with a quarterback who played at a Power-5 conference if they are looking to develop one long-term to even be a backup. Think Chase Daniel.
The exception should be if a quarterback outside the Power-5 has done something truly special in college to back up traits that make the QB worthy of NFL consideration.
Instead, The Chicago Bears have drafted Nathan Enderle, David Fales, and Dan LeFevour, or signed Jordan Lynch as an undrafted free agent.
Those were guys who either had desirable traits or a solid college career but nothing that made them special to think they could develop into even a respectable backup quarterback.
Bagent’s college production and the work he has done in the preseason have shown he has a shot to at least have a long career holding a clipboard and possibly winning some games when pressed into service.
Hey, the Bears might develop not only a potential MVP starting quarterback in Justin Fields but also produce a cost-effective young backup quarterback. Which begs the question, who is this franchise?