The Chicago Bears are adding another veteran quarterback — and a familiar face — to their quarterback room for the 2023 offseason.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, the Bears are re-signing quarterback Nathan Peterman to a new contract for the 2023 season, giving them another veteran to compete with P.J. Walker for the backup job behind third-year starter Justin Fields.
“Veteran QB Nate Peterman is re-signing with the #Bears, per source,” Pelissero tweeted on March 30. “A valued piece of the QB room, Peterman is now entering his seventh NFL season and second in Chicago.”
Peterman spent the majority of the 2022 season on Chicago’s practice squad as their third-stringer behind Fields and former backup Trevor Siemian, but he did play in three of the Bears’ final four games and made his first start since 2018 in their regular-season finale against the Minnesota Vikings. He was 14-of-25 passing on the year with 137 yards, one touchdown and one interception across his three performances.
Nathan Peterman Likely to be QB3 Again in 2023
Re-signing Peterman is a necessary depth decision for the Bears. He is a veteran with experience in Luke Getsy’s offensive system and is enough of a journeyman that he is likely signing for at or near the veteran minimum. Simply getting an invitation back, though, doesn’t guarantee Peterman will have a spot on Chicago’s 53-man roster in 2023, even if he manages to turn a corner in training camp and the preseason.
Peterman will have his work cut out for him if he wants to avoid spending a second straight season on the Bears’ practice squad. Siemian, the guy who beat him out for the backup job in 2022, is no longer around to challenge him for the role, but in his place is an even better fit for Getsy’s system in Walker. The latter started five games for the Carolina Panthers in 2022, completing more passes (63) than Peterman has in his last five NFL seasons combined (61). He is also signed to a two-year, $4 million contract with more than half of his earnings guaranteed, giving him more security as the backup.
Peterman could still have an outside chance of making the roster with a strong showing in the preseason, but a practice-squad spot might be all Chicago is willing to offer him if they are against carrying three quarterbacks on their active roster in 2023.
Will Bears Still Consider Rookie QB in NFL Draft?
One other thing that could complicate things with Peterman is the potential arrival of a rookie quarterback. The Bears did not draft a new quarterback talent in Ryan Poles’ first draft as general manager in 2022 and seem highly unlikely to target any of the top prospects in the 2023 class after trading away the No. 1 overall pick, but they could still try to invest in one of the Day 3 prospects if the right candidate is available.
Quarterback prospects such as UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Georgia’s Stetson Bennet and TCU’s Max Duggan all could have a chance of falling into the seventh round, where the Bears will have two selections. Depending on how the board has fallen at that point, the Bears might not even need to burn a draft pick to get one of them if they go unselected and become rookie free agents available for negotiation.
Either way, the Bears might prefer to have at least one more young competitor in the quarterback room for their offseason workout. Peterman didn’t exactly fair well when he was asked to step up for Chicago down the final stretch of 2022, and Walker himself has experienced some rough patches throughout his career. One more young arm can’t hurt — and could even have a rare chance of becoming a long-term backup option.