The Chicago Bears head into the final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills with a few roster areas that need to be sorted out.
Throwing a wrench into the Bears’ roster construction is Teven Jenkins suffering a leg injury that will possibly keep him out of action to start the season.
The offensive line has been getting banged up this week in practice.
Undrafted free agent rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent has come out of nowhere to vie for a roster spot.
Head coach Matt Eberflus will need to balance out how long the starters play to get a proper rehearsal for the regular season while getting a final look at players on the roster bubble. Remember, if a player does not make the final cut, he still could be considered for the practice squad.
Also, the Chicago Bears still hold the first claim spot on the waiver wire. There could be players cut loose by other teams that the Bears could pick up.
Heading into the final preseason game, the final 53-man roster could look like this…
[Projected starters will be in bold]
2 roster spots: Justin Fields, Nathan Peterman
1 practice squad spot: Tyson Bagent
P.J. Walker was guaranteed a few million in the offseason to be the backup. He has been straight-up awful during the preseason and training camp.
Yes, he has some skills that are similar to Justin Fields so the game plan does not have to be altered too much if P.J. had to play. The problem is Walker is playing like the guy who had to go to the XFL just to get noticed by the NFL.
Will he also help Fields get better in the film room and practice? With all those unknowns and a history of inconsistent play, it might be better to admit a mistake and cut Walker loose.
Tyson Bagent has taken Chicago by storm with his strong preseason play.
Remember, it is the preseason. Quarterback Ken Mastrole was a preseason hero and he never amounted to anything.
Bagent does have good athleticism where if he does win the backup job, offensive coordinator Luke Getsy could still run a good portion of the offense. Bagent has also shown poise in the pocket and that he is grasping the offense.
He does not seem overwhelmed by the NFL.
Tyson is balling out against second and third-stringers along with players that will be out of the league, so we need to temper expectations. Plus, it would not be responsible to ask him to make the jump from Division II to NFL backup which is one injury away from being the starter.
I would have put him on the final roster, but Teven Jenkins’ injury scrapped that plan.
There is a risk Bagent gets claimed through waivers, but all 32 teams passed on him in the draft. The Chicago Bears only picked him up because Bagent impressed Getsy at the Senior Bowl. Granted the new emergency quarterback rules might intrigue a team to claim him.
Most NFL teams construct their rosters to have two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and one on the practice squad. Bagent’s college experience screams a year on the practice squad before he is ready to be a backup.
That means the prudent thing to do is go with Nathan Peterman as the backup. He has played well this preseason (although it is against players destined for the practice squad or desk job after this week). It would be a gamble considering he has just four career touchdown passes to 13 interceptions. Right now, he might be the best choice over Walker.