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Chicago Bears 2023 Position Battles: Is the depth at quarterback better?

In this 11-part training camp preview, we’ll go position by position examining the players on the Chicago Bears 90-man roster and their chances to make the team.

Chicago Bears Offseason Workout Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears moved on from last year's backup quarterback, Trevor Siemian, to save a little in cap space and find a better scheme fit for their offense that’s built around Justin Fields. There's no one quite as athletic as Fields, but P.J. Walker may be more comfortable with some of the bootlegs and rollouts, and he has the arm strength to lead Chicago's speedy receivers deep down the field.

Roster Locks

Fields should make a nice jump in production in year two of Luke Getsy's offense, and a slew of new weapons incorporated into the team will also be a plus for him. I'm expecting a big statistical year from the QB1.

Walker is a decent athlete, but don't expect him to do many of the designed runs the Bears have in the playbook for Fields. He ripped off a 4.74 forty at his Temple pro day in 2017. but he only has 18 rushing attempts for 50 yards in his three-year NFL career. During his XFL stint, he had 99 rushing yards on 24 carries in five games. So while he's more of a threat, he won't be running QB power very often.

A good bet to make it

If the Bears intend to carry a third QB on the active 53-man roster, then it should be a true camp battle between veteran Nathan Peterman and UDFA rookie Tyson Bagent.

The new emergency QB rule that passed this offseason states:

One hour and 30 minutes prior to kickoff, each club is required to establish its Active List for the game by notifying the Referee of the players on its Inactive List for that game. Each club may also designate one emergency third quarterback from its 53-player Active/Inactive List (i.e., elevated players are not eligible for designation) who will be eligible to be activated during the game, if the club’s first two quarterbacks on its game day Active List are not able to participate in the game due to injury or disqualification (activation cannot be a result of a head coach’s in-game decision to remove a player from the game due to performance or conduct). If either of the injured quarterbacks is cleared by the medical staff to return to play, the emergency third quarterback must be removed from the game and is not permitted to continue to play quarterback or any other position, but is eligible to return to the game to play quarterback if another emergency third quarterback situation arises.

A club is not eligible to use these procedures if it carries three quarterbacks on its game day Active List [47- or 48-players in 2023].

So teams need to keep a third quarterback on their active 53-man roster if they want to take advantage of this new rule, and I'm not sure if head coach Matt Eberflus will save a roster spot for this.

On the bubble

I doubt there'll be enough practice reps to go around for a fourth quarterback, so it'll either be Peterman or Bagent on the active 53 or the practice squad.

I'm pulling for the rookie.

We know who Peterman is after six years, and that's a break-in-case-of-emergency QB3, so the unknown surrounding Bagent will be fun to follow during training camp. He's a decent athlete that was able to move around the pocket quite a bit at Division II's Shepherd University, where he won the Harlon Hill Trophy in 2021 (DII MVP).

He also won his conference's Offensive Player of the Year in 2022 while setting the all-time passing touchdown record among all NCAA divisions at 159, and he holds the all-time DII record holder in passing yards and total touchdowns too.

Our Lead Draft Analyst, Jacob Infante, had some thoughts about Bagent in this article.

He is an accurate passer with a good sense of timing and natural anticipation behind his throws, and he does a good job of maneuvering the pocket, keeping his head up to scan the field while keeping his feet active to avoid pressure.

Bagent has a bit of an elongated throwing motion and a low release point, which could be cleaned up at the NFL level. He also has a tendency to force reads to his first look, which a lot of rookies face coming out of college, but doing so at the Division II level is much more maskable than doing so in the NFL.

I'd like to see Bagent stick around on the practice squad, and if there is an injury to either Fields or Walker, then they can sign Peterman or another break-in-case-of-emergency veteran if they don't think the rookie is ready.

Do you guys like Walker as this year's QB2?

What are your thoughts on the QB3 battle?