Update Aug. 31: After cutting Nathan Peterman in favor of undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent out of DII Shepherd University, the Chicago Bears have added the former to the 53-man roster. Both will serve as backups to Justin Fields.
NFL teams are always one hit away from losing their franchise quarterback. But in Chicago, the Bears could be one sack from being forced to play arguably the worst quarterback in league history — and it’s all their fault.
After releasing P.J. Walker on Sunday, the Bears put themselves in yet another head-scratching situation. Unless they plan to sign another quarterback before the season starts or are hoping a better option will become available once the games begin, Chicago is down to undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent or Nathan “the worst ever” Peterman being QB2, as rosters have to be finalized by 4:00 pm EST on Tuesday.
“I thought in terms of just overall, I don’t know about the [No. 2 quarterback] battle, but I know he put his best foot forward,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said about Bagent, who took over for Fields against the Bills in their final preseason game on Saturday. “He operated the offense, was in and out of the huddle. A lot of times when you’re working with different pieces and parts, sometimes you’re getting up there to the line, and it’s seven seconds, and he was very mindful of the clock to get the snaps off. Typically, with inexperience, you have a couple of those delays. He didn’t have those, but overall, great operation. I thought he was accurate. The decision-making was good. So overall good.”
Since Walker didn’t work out, it appears that the guy from Division II Shepherd University is in a position to hold the clipboard. But, that doesn’t mean Peterman is out of it — as he’s proven that he always seems to find himself in an NFL locker room despite how atrocious he is at his job.
In Peterman’s short, yet unforgettable, career he has thrown as many interceptions as games he’s appeared in — 13. He once threw five interceptions in the first half of his first start.
Despite how historically bad Peterman has been as an NFL quarterback, his whiteness keeps finding a way to keep him employed, even when he’s not as good as Josh Rosen — or Baker Mayfield. Buffalo was a disaster. His time with the Raiders was a waste. But yet, here he is, fighting for a chance to stay alive in the Bears’ QB Room.
Non-coincidentally enough, this is taking place when Black quarterbacks are experiencing a high like never before in the NFL, as 13 of them could start on Week 1 — which would be a league record.
There’s also the fact that we’re coming off a Super Bowl in which two Black quarterbacks faced each other for the first time, while three Black quarterbacks were taken in the Top 5 during the NFL Draft, as all of them have been named starters — Bryce Young in Carolina, C.J. Stroud in Houston, and Anthony Richardson in Indianapolis.
Advancement is taking place one on end while regression is occurring at the other, showing just how delicate progress can be. Despite the “moment,” Peterman’s privilege is why a guy who has only started five of the 13 games he’s appeared in and only completed 85 of the 160 passes he’s been allowed to throw for 712 yards and four touchdowns at a 53.1 completion rate is on the verge of entering his sixth season.
When I previously wrote that the current state of the Black NFL quarterback is built on a house of cards, this is exactly what I meant. For a team that has a quarterback who takes as many hits as Justin Fields does, you would think that Chicago would make finding a competent backup a high priority. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case this season. Bears fans, start praying now. Because if Fields ever goes down you’ll be left with a guy you never heard of or the last one you’d ever want to see taking the field.