Bears list veteran Nathan Peterman as QB2 behind Justin Fields

ByCourtney Cronin ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 6, 2023

CHICAGO -- The backup quarterback debate is over in Chicago.

Nathan Peterman, not rookie Tyson Bagent, will serve as the backup to starting quarterback Justin Fields, according to the team's official depth chart released in advance of the Bears' Week 1 opener against the Packers at Soldier Field.

Peterman, 29, was a part of the Bears' initial cuts when the roster was trimmed from 90 to 53 players last week. He was re-signed to the active roster Thursday. Chicago is carrying three quarterbacks on the active roster between Fields, Peterman and Bagent.

Bagent, the only Division II quarterback to make a 53-man roster leaguewide, initially beat out Peterman and PJ Walker for a roster spot after a strong preseason campaign. During roster cuts, Bears coach Matt Eberflus said the team was having conversations about adding a veteran quarterback to help the team's two younger quarterbacks (Fields is 24; Bagent is 23).

With two seasons' worth of knowledge in the Bears' offense, Peterman earned his way into the role behind Fields given all the things Chicago coaches and front office personnel say they expect a backup quarterback to provide.

"You almost have to be [the starting quarterback's] eyes and ears and to be able to give them advice in terms of what you saw versus what they saw after maybe a good play or a bad play," general manager Ryan Poles said. "That feedback, another set of eyes is always important."

Eberflus said the team re-signed Peterman to the active roster over the practice squad with the intent to secure him from going elsewhere. Practice squad players, unless protected by their current team (up to four are allowed this protection each week), are eligible to sign with another team's 53-man roster.

"We're sure glad to have [Peterman] back," Eberflus said. "He's really good for that room. Him and Justin learned the offense together, so to speak, so they're speaking the same language. They understand it really well. I think it's good to have him in the room."

Peterman spent the majority of the 2022 season on the Bears' practice squad and was elevated for three games, including a start against the Vikings in Week 18, when Fields and a bulk of starters did not play.

Peterman was drafted by the Bills in the fifth round in 2017 and has spent most of his career with the Raiders (2018-21) before signing with Chicago in 2022.

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