Bears release QB Nathan Peterman, paving way for Tyson Bagent to be backup

Bagent, surprise star of preseason, likely to make 53-man roster

Chicago Bears quarterback Tyson Bagent looks to throw between Buffalo Bills defensive end Kingsley Jonathan and linebacker Baylon Spector during their game Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

LAKE FOREST – The Bears are releasing veteran backup quarterback Nathan Peterman, according to a report from the NFL Network. The moves means undrafted rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent will almost certainly be the second quarterback on the roster behind starter Justin Fields.

Bagent, who played at Division II Shepherd University, was a surprise star during the preseason. He outplayed both Peterman and veteran backup PJ Walker, who the team cut Sunday night. The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero noted that the Bears would like to sign Peterman to the practice squad.

Under the league’s new quarterback rules, teams can designate a practice squad quarterback as the third active QB on game days. It’s possible many teams across the league could elect to keep only two quarterbacks on the active roster during the season.

To say that nobody expected Bagent to make the 53-man roster would be a massive understatement. The Bears signed Bagent as an undrafted rookie in the days after the draft. He won the Harlon Hill Trophy, the equivalent of the D-II Heisman, in 2021 at Shepherd. Following that season, he had offers to transfer to D-I schools, but elected to continue playing at his hometown university where both his parents also attended.

He caught everyone’s attention with a 92-yard touchdown drive in the Bears’ second preseason game this month. Bagent was 20 of 29 for 156 yards with one interception and two rushing touchdowns during three preseason games.

“We certainly feel great about where he is,” Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said of Bagent. “He’s put his best foot forward and we’re excited about seeing where he goes in the future.”

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.