Bears Launch Offseason Workouts With (Temporary) QB1 Tyson Bagent

It’s a fun story, but not much more than that.

The Bears have two quarterbacks on their roster now that Justin Fields has been traded: Tyson Bagent and Brett Rypien. The team gathered at Halas Hall today to kick off their offseason workouts, and Bagent is lightly penciled in as QB1. The second-year signal-caller saw work in five games last season – four as a starter – and finished with a 2-2 record. He completed 94 of 143 passing attempts (65.7%) for 859 yards with three scores and two interceptions. The 23-year-old signed with Chicago as an undrafted free agent after last year’s draft.

The Bears are expected to select a quarterback at the top of this year’s draft, and all signs point to Caleb Williams being that pick. Williams is a former Heisman Trophy winner and the consensus top available passer. Some Bears fans remain in denial and have convinced themselves Williams will be a bust. That’s doubtful, but time will tell. For now, Bagent is the guy.

Last year, the Division II Standout from Shepherd College went from training camp afterthought to backup quarterback to NFL starter in about 10 weeks. Like almost every backup QB that plays for Chicago, Bagent was a fan favorite for about a month, with the team’s fan base entertaining a non-existent quarterback controversy after he beat the Raiders 30-12 in October. He followed that with two losses and then barely beat the Panthers. Fields, who returned the following week, might still be with the team had the Bears lost that game. Of course, winning isn’t easy for NFL rookies.

“I think just how hard it is to win football games in this league and just how important each play is,” Bagent said of what he took from his time as the starter. “There is so much on the line with every play. Just really being locked in for 60 minutes. I think I learned that in New Orleans. Just playing pretty amazing up until the fourth quarter. Being able to be a little more locked in. I have a little better understanding just so I can finish games when my number is called next year.”

Williams is not guaranteed to be the starter if he is selected, and Rypien is little more than insurance. Some have suggested the Bears sign Ryan Tannehill, but what’s the point? Sure, Tannehill provides a veteran presence, but can he beat out Bagent for a roster spot? The UDFA beat out P.J. Walker last year and it wasn’t very close.

Others believe Bagent can beat out Williams, but that seems unlikely. The rookie’s ascent was a terrific story, but this year’s team is built to win now.  Bagent certainly has the ability to stick with the Bears as a backup for many years, however. He’s wired to succeed, doesn’t shy away from big moments, and is talented enough to win at this level. Nothing Bagent showed last year indicates he’s a future franchise quarterback, though. Yes, he has an unlimited ceiling, but if GM Ryan Poles believed Bagent could lead this team to the postseason he’d have already traded that top pick for what has been called a “Godfather haul.”

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