The Chicago Bears have unexpectedly back-tracked on Wednesday’s decision to release veteran quarterback Nathan Peterman and re-signed him to their 53-man roster, but their reasons for the back and forth are actually rooted in their failed attempt to poach a player off another team’s practice squad.
According to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin, the Bears had released Peterman from their active roster because they “had hoped to sign” an offensive lineman from an unnamed team’s practice squad to their 53-man roster in order to boost depth after left tackle Braxton Jones was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury on Wednesday.
“The poaching of another team’s practice-squad player ended up falling through, though, but the Bears had to clear a roster spot by 3 p.m. CT Wednesday if they wanted that player to be at practice today,” Cronin wrote Thursday on X.
Cronin added the Bears were planning to bring back Peterman on their practice squad if things had gone according to plan, which would have left them with Justin Fields and undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent as the only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster and nine offensive linemen. Instead, they are back to having three quarterbacks — including Peterman — will have to explore other options for bolstering their offensive line room.
Bears Sign New OT Austen Pleasants to Practice Squad
The Bears may not have been able to poach the player they wanted from another team’s practice squad, but they did make a few smaller changes to their offensive line room.
According to the team’s official transaction wire for September 20, the Bears signed veteran offensive tackle Aviante Collins from the practice squad to their 53-man roster on Wednesday and gave his vacated practice-squad spot to fourth-year offensive tackle Austen Pleasants, whom they signed as a street free agent.
The Bears had flexed Collins from their practice squad to the game-day roster using one of their temporary elevations for Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he was one of two players — including Peterman — who did not play a single snap in the game. Still, the 30-year-old Collins has some playing experience (seven games in the past six seasons) and spent all of training camp with the Bears, giving them a familiar option.
Pleasants is a bit more of a project. He went undrafted out of Ohio, a mid-major school, in 2020 and has bounced around between the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers without playing a snap of regular-season football. He did play extensive preseason snaps (165) for the Chargers this past August, though, allowing two sacks and five pressures over 102 total pass-blocking snaps.
Bears Not Ruling Out Season-Ending for Braxton Jones
During his Wednesday press conference, Bears head coach Matt Eberflus did not give many details about the neck injury that landed Jones on injured reserve aside from saying it was an issue that arose following Week 2’s loss to Tampa Bay. When asked if it could be a season-ending injury for Jones, though, Eberflus was unable to rule it out.
“We’ll see where it is, we don’t have timetables on it,” Eberflus said Wednesday. “Right now, that’s where it is.”
In the meantime, Eberflus said they are planning to go with third-year Larry Borom will be their primary option at the left tackle position heading into Week 3’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Borom has started 17 of his 23 games over his first two seasons with the Bears and served as their primary right tackle for the first half of 2022. He is also coming off a strong 2023 preseason in which Pro Football Focus graded him as the best overall offensive lineman (94.5) and run-blocking lineman (96.2) in the NFL.
“We’ve got Larry, Larry Borom is in there,” Eberflus said Wednesday. “JT [Carter] can take some spots out there. We really feel good about him, the way he played last week inside, certainly athletic enough to help us out there, too, but we’ll see where it goes.”