When news broke on Sunday night that the Chicago Bears were going to be releasing veteran backup quarterback PJ Walker, the expectation was that undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent defied the odds and won the backup quarterback spot behind Justin Fields.
The news appeared to be confirmed on Tuesday with news that the Bears were releasing veteran quarterback Nathan Peterman.
But, not so fast.
Matt Eberflus spoke with reporters on Tuesday afternoon and while he did praise the work that Bagent has done, the Bears’ head coach did not rule out the idea of the team adding a veteran backup quarterback.
Given the fact that Peterman did not play in the Bears’ final pre-season game last Saturday, it was an indicator that the veteran quarterback was not in the mix to be the team’s backup quarterback.
Tyson Bagent entering the season as the Bears’ backup quarterback would be a mistake.
There is no doubt that Bagent certainly has proven to be worthy of being a developmental quarterback for the Bears with his play during the pre-season. The issue is that Bagent’s first real test against an NFL-caliber defense showed that there still is a gap between where he currently is and where he would need to be in the event that he is needed to start in place of an injured Fields.
Bagent got a brief look at the Buffalo Bills’ starting defensive unit last weekend while also getting extended time against legitimate backups and struggled in the passing game by completing only 50% of his passes while averaging 3.1 yards per attempt.
There is an important distinguishment that Bears fans are failing to make with Bagent.
Walker lost his backup quarterback job due to his inability to look competent in both training camp and pre-season games. Had Walker had even the slightest amount of success, Bagent would be looking at either the No. 3 quarterback spot or waived with the hope of sticking around on the practice squad.
If the Bears are planning on contending for playoff spots this season, then there must be a veteran quarterback brought in before the start of the season. Otherwise, Bagent is going to be exposed the second that he is forced into extended playing time this season.