The rise from Division II to QB2 appears to be complete for Tyson Bagent. On Tuesday, as teams across the league whittle down their rosters to 53 players, the Chicago Bears are releasing veteran quarterback Nathan Peterman, according to NFL Media. While this report also notes that the team will try to bring Peterman back via the practice squad, the move now leaves Bagent as the only other quarterback on the roster behind Justin Fields.
Bagent, an undrafted free agent out of Division II Shepherd, beat out the likes of Peterman along with fellow veteran P.J. Walker, who was released by the team earlier this summer after signing a two-year deal with the team this offseason.
Throughout the preseason, Bagent did impress by completing 20 of his 29 passes for 156 yards and one interception. He also rushed for two touchdowns over the course of three exhibitions.
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Bagent, 23, was a D-II phenomenon at Shepherd, eclipsing 100 career touchdown passes and winning the 2021 Harlon Hill Trophy, given to the MVP of Division II. Mechanical and footwork issues were among the biggest criticisms of Bagent coming out of college, but the undrafted rookie showcased off-script moxie during extensive work in the Bears' preseason. Clearly, that showing in the preseason was enough for Chicago to roll the dice and trying to sneak Peterman onto the practice squad rather than exposing Bagent.
Meanwhile, Walker entered with connections to coach Matt Eberflus and new No. 1 wide receiver D.J. Moore, with whom he worked as a member of the Colts and Panthers, respectively. He also offered starting experience, going 4-3 as an injury replacement for Carolina from 2020-2022. But the veteran, who also starred in the 2020 rendition of the XFL, completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes in an uneven preseason, leading to speculation he might be usurped by Bagent. Walker's release saves the Bears just $150,000 while carrying a dead salary-cap charge of $1.5M, per Over the Cap.
As for Peterman, this is his third stop in the NFL after entering as a fifth round pick of the Bills in 2017 out of Pitt. He initially landed with the Bears in 2022 and served in a reserve role. He re-signed with the team on a one-year deal in March.
Of course, Justin Fields is still the franchise centerpiece under center, but Bagent is one of the more fascinating storylines of the summer.