First & Long: Bagent Expected to Win QB2, Bears Announce Public Practice Schedule, Larry Mayers’ ‘Road to Canton’ Series, Pack Hopes to Extend Jordan Love by Start of Camp

I’ve been away for a bit while I recovered from some health issues, but I’m back. Let’s start today by talking about quarterbacks not named Caleb Williams.

The Bears are coming off of a 7-10 season, did well in free agency and the draft, and are considered a Darkhorse playoff candidate. GM Ryan Poles had done a fine job of adding playmakers but his team lacks depth at every position except running back and defensive back. That includes quarterback, where Tyson Bagent, Brett Rypien, and UDFA Austin Reed are listed on the depth chart behind Williams. Bagent will likely break camp in August as Chicago’s primary backup.

Last season, Bagent beat out Nathan Peterman and P.J. Walker to claim the QB2 spot as an understudy to Justin Fields. The undrafted rookie started four games in 2023, connecting on 94 of 143 passing attempts for 859 yards with three scores and six picks. Bagent managed to go .500 in those four games and did so with edge rusher Montez Sweat still playing for Washington in two of those tilts. His path to QB2 this season seems much easier based on experience and competition.

Still, some analysts believe the Bears are a playoff team. Can Bagent lead the Bears to the postseason if Williams suffers an injury and misses extended time? Ryan Tannehill is available, and he has a lot more experience than any of Chicago’s backups. A recent article at ESPN suggests Tannehill should be on the team’s radar ($).

“The Bears believe they put a playoff-contending team around Williams. Bagent and Rypien are not bringing this team to the playoffs. The Bears should sign the best free agent quarterback left on the market and let him earn a check as Williams’ backup and as a veteran part-time coach.”

Look for Bagent to solidify his position as Williams’ backup once training camp starts next month. Rypien should settle in as Chicago’s emergency QB. A tweak to the NFL’s rule involving emergency passers allows teams to stash their emergency QB on the practice squad and elevate that player continually. Waivers would not apply to Rypien, who is a vested veteran, but the Bears would take a risk if they kept Rypien and exposed Bagent to waivers.

Reed is a nice story and will be championed as the same underdog Bagent was last season, but what are the chances that he supplants Bagent or Rypien? Time will tell.

Bears News & Notes

The Road to Canton

Bears’ senior writer Larry Mayer has authored a series of articles on Devin Hester and Steve McMichael and the paths that led them to the NFL Hall of Fame.


  1. Part One: How Hester Became a Bear
  2. Part Two: Remembering Hester’s Magical Rookie Season
  3. Part Three: The Night Hester Made History
  4. Part Four: Former Players Reflect on Hester as a Teammate and Player


  1. Part One: McMichael’s Lifelong Friendship with Dan Hampton
  2. Part Two: More Than Mongo
  3. Part Three: Reflecting on McMichael’s Pro Wrestling Career
  4. Part Four: The Signature Play of McMichael’s Career

There’s a Flag…On the Play

Braxton Jones is this year’s FCL Cornhole King.

Scout Team (Week 1 Opponent Tennessee)

Film Room

Jonathan Owens is an example of Chicago’s improving defensive depth.

Northern Exposure

Around the NFL

The Jaguars and QB Trevor Lawrence agreed to a $275 million contract extension.

Jets RB Breece Hall said Christian McCaffrey of the 49ers sets the standard for NFL running backs.

The Falcons and top draft pick Michael Penix Jr. have agreed to terms on the quarterback’s rookie deal.

Free agent DB Shaquille Leonard is still looking for an NFL team to call home.

Kyler Murray believes rookie WR Marvin Harrison Jr. will “take the Cardinals offense to an entirely new level.”

Love is among a handful of quarterbacks who could sign an extension worth $60 million AAV.

Jeff Bezos wasn’t blocked in his attempt to buy the Commanders. He was simply outbid.

Two-Minute Drill

Williams has one of the better safety cushions for a rookie signal caller. The Bears are coming off a 7-10 season, and they added Pro Bowlers Keenan Allen at wide receiver and D’Andre Swift at running back. Since 1950, only eight QBs recorded double-digit wins in their rookie seasons, and only two of those — Russell Wilson with the Seahawks in 2012 and Mac Jones with the Patriots in 2021 — inherited a team with at least seven wins, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust

  1. In their 70-20 week 3 win against the Broncos last season, the Dolphins became the only team in NFL history to have five rushing TDs and five passing TDs in the same game.
  2. The Broncos are the first team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl, and then go on to miss the playoffs for eight straight seasons.
  3. Daniel Jones is the only current QB with a contract worth $100M+ in total value, while never having a season with 3,500+ passing yards or 25+ pass TDs.

From the Podium

  • “When we came back for OTAs, minicamp and all of that, [Brisker] definitely had a different swag that I was able to see clearly. Then of course, throughout camp, him talking and communicating, making certain plays, making certain reads to where it showed a lot of maturity from year one to year two. He’s also just full of energy, full of a lot of words. I mean, he’s always talking. He’s always being competitive, a lot of juice. So just allowing himself to be who he is. I think now it’s just continuing to light the stage up as far as his energy and playmaking goes.”Jaylon Johnson
  • “[Dexter] has all of the ability, the size, the skills, the mind, he’s humble. He just has to let the chains off and go.” – Sweat
  • “I learned that I’m super talented and I also think that I have what it takes to meet my goals. A lot of people say, ‘me versus me.’ I think that’s what I took from it, just putting in that extra work. I think the biggest thing in this league is, some guys do what’s required and the guys that do the extra work, those are the guys that you see get those big contracts or those guys who end up being a Hall of Famer.” – Dexter
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