Bears Cut Ties With $4 Million Quarterback: Report

Ryan Poles, Bears

Getty General manager Ryan Poles of the Chicago Bears.

The Chicago Bears faced some tough calls in the quarterback room heading into the regular season. On Sunday, they made a big one.

Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reported on August 27 via X, the social media website formerly known as Twitter, that the Bears have cut quarterback P.J. Walker from the roster.

“Bears have released QB PJ Walker, per source,” Jones wrote Sunday.

General manager Ryan Poles signed Walker to back up third-year starter Justin Fields, inking the former Carolina Panthers QB to a two-year deal worth $4.15 million. The decision to cut Walker will cost the Bears $2.01 million, which was the guaranteed amount on the quarterback’s contract.

Walker’s departure leaves the Bears with undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent and veteran Nathan Peterman as the two players behind Fields on the Bears roster.

Tyson Bagent Leader in Clubhouse for Bears’ Backup QB Job

Tyson Bagent 53v2

GettyChicago Bears rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent has performed well this preseason.

It appears now that Bagent is a name with which Bears fans ought to familiarize themselves, as he looks like the favorite to win the backup job in Chicago.

Bagent signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of Shepherd University in West Virginia, joining the team as the fourth-string QB. Despite playing his college ball at a Division II school, Bagent looks the part of an NFL quarterback. He has a 6’3″, 213-pound frame and has shown a propensity for running the football as well as passing this preseason.

Bagent is 20-of-29 passing for 156 yards and one interception in three preseason games. While he has yet to throw for a touchdown, Bagent has rushed for two of them, amassing 25 yards on seven carries. He has been sacked a total of four times, including once in every game, but has also looked poised during the majority of his time on the field.

Peterman has vastly more experience than Bagent at the NFL level, though he hasn’t been successful. Peterman joined the league in 2017 as a member of the Buffalo Bills. He also had a run with the Las Vegas Raiders before landing in Chicago last year.

Over the course of his career, Peterman is 1-4 as a starter, including an 0-1 mark for the Bears in 2022. He has appeared in a total of 13 NFL games, tallying 712 yards, four touchdowns and 13 interceptions on a 53.1% completion percentage, per Pro Football Reference.

It is possible that head coach Matt Eberflus will turn to Peterman first if Fields goes down early in the year simply based on prior experience — assuming the Bears don’t cut Peterman before August 29 and he remains on the roster come the start of the regular season. However, Bagent’s youth and potentially dynamic skill set render him the more likely choice to back up Fields in the long-run, just as soon as the coaching staff believes Bagent’s feet are adequately wet at the professional level.

Bears May Also Look to Free Agency for Established QB

Carson Wentz

GettyQuarterback Carson Wentz, formerly of the Washington Commanders, remains a free agent.

The emergence of Bagent makes it unlikely that Chicago will seek out a veteran backup for Fields on the free agent market, though it isn’t impossible.

Carson Wentz is perhaps the only real option still available if the Bears are hoping to land a QB who has proven he is inside of the top 50 signal-callers currently playing in the NFL. Wentz is a one-time Pro Bowler and MVP candidate (2017) who led the Philadelphia Eagles through much of that regular season before an injury sidelined him ahead of the team’s Super Bowl run.

Wentz is 46-45-1 as an NFL starter, with 22,129 yards, 151 TDs and 66 interceptions on his resumé. He has started games for the Eagles, Indianapolis Colts and Washington Commanders.

The two problems with Wentz are that he may be looking for an opportunity to compete for a starting job, which he won’t get in Chicago, and that his desired financial compensation might price the Bears out. Wentz doesn’t have the same reputation he once did, but he has still earned nearly $129 million since entering the NFL seven seasons ago.

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