Patience isn’t something the Chicago Bears have much of these days. One can understand why. They’ve endured some of the ugliest offensive football for the past few decades you’ll ever see. It was hoped quarterback Justin Fields might be the one to turn things around. His talent is immense, and he works harder than anybody. Yet, through the first two games of his third season, it’s more apparent than ever he suffers from key drawbacks that make it seem as if he’ll never become a high-end NFL passer. Already, the calls have grown from some fans to go with Tyson Bagent.
It sounds absurd. Bagent is an undrafted rookie from a Division II program. Replacing Fields with him at this juncture is irresponsible. Even so, people have eyes. They saw how Bagent performed in the preseason. He looked sharp, poised, calm under pressure, and threw with timing and accuracy. Even his footwork looked more polished than Fields. Brad Bigg of the Chicago Tribune reached out to a couple of scouting sources to see if fans were just smoking their usual hopeium.
The answer he got back wasn’t what you’d expect.
“He was really talented,” a national scout said. “My report reads better than the grade I gave him. He was accurate. He throws the ball downfield. They took a ton of deep shots at Shepherd. I thought in person he was a better athlete than he was on tape running away from some of those guys. I thought the guy had the ability to develop into an NFL quarterback. You can see him playing quarterback. Some guys who get all of this hype and have stats, you can’t see them doing it like they will have to do in the NFL. It was a matter of whether or not it was going to be too big for him and if he could develop in the manner he should against a new level of comp.”
“I went in there two years ago,” another national scout said, “And he definitely has enough talent. He showed enough ability to be intrigued about. I liked the player. I liked the person. Everything was really positive about him. He was different from the rest of his team in terms of his preparation habits and how badly he wanted to succeed and get to the NFL and get that chance. It was a good free-agent pickup. I am surprised he didn’t go in the seventh round. There was enough there to draft that guy.”
Tyson Bagent may get his shot at some point.
Head coach Matt Eberflus has maintained a steady assurance that Fields will figure it out. However, rumblings behind the scenes suggest he and the coaching staff are getting frustrated with his lack of progress as a passer. He missed several open receivers in Tampa Bay, including one that would’ve been a walk-in touchdown. The Bears have lost 12 games in a row. There is a legitimate avenue for them to go 0-6 in the blink of an eye. If that happens, there won’t be much left to lose by that point.
Starting Tyson Bagent at least gives the Bears a chance to evaluate the young quarterback. He probably won’t do much winning either, but it’ll be a great opportunity to see if he can execute at the NFL level. If he flounders, then they know the 2024 off-season will center around finding a quarterback. However, if Bagent shows promising signs, that may convince the team to give him a real shot next year with more resources poured into the surrounding roster.