The Chicago Bears appear headed towards changing who will be their long-term starting quarterback.
Justin Fields left last Sunday’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings after dislocating his right thumb. He tried to return but he was unable to grip the football.
Fields’ status for this Sunday’s game is doubtful. If he cannot go, undrafted rookie free agent Tyson Bagent will get his first career start.
Before Fields went down, he was not playing well.
He was sacked three times, threw an interception, and had 58 passing yards. Part of the problem was that center Cody Whitehair lacked control when snapping the ball.
Fields’ weaknesses popped up once again after some strong play during the previous two games. It was almost like offensive coordinator Luke Getsy went back to the game plan of the season’s first three weeks. Fields was awful in those games because Getsy tried to shoehorn him into a pocket passer.
If Justin Fields is out for an extended period, the Chicago Bears might need to move on based on draft position forcing them to.
The Carolina Panthers might be even worse than the Bears and Chicago owns the rights to Carolina’s first-round pick. That means the Bears have doubled their chances of landing the No. 1 overall pick again.
The prize is the chance to reset the quarterback rookie contract in a deep draft at that position.
Bagent will get a chance to make a case he can be more than a career backup if Fields is ruled out against the Las Vegas Raiders. He did lead the Chicago Bears on a touchdown drive with his quick release and poise, but turned the ball over twice and had some underthrown passes.
Playing Division II football was one reason Bagent went undrafted. Arm strength was the other.
He completed 10 of 14 passes for 83 yards and ran for a touchdown. Bagent did show at least for one game general manager Ryan Poles made the right call in training camp when he kept Tyson over P.J. Walker.
Tyson Bagent could be like Brock Purdy. The problem is defenses will eventually scheme to make him drive the ball down the field. That is something he might not be able to do.
That means Ryan Poles will have to seek out a new quarterback option in the offseason.
Thankfully, next year’s draft is a good one to have two first-round picks. There is a generational talent in the quarterback class and a couple of others who could be great NFL starting QBs.