The Chicago Bears’ decision to sign QB Tim Boyle off the Detroit Lions practice squad may seem like no big deal but dig a little deeper, and you’ll realize that it’s bigger than no big deal.
Boyle is now guaranteed a place on the Bears’ active roster for the next three weeks. It’s an NFL rule that mandates players signed off another’s team’s practice squad must be on their new team’s active roster for at least three games following the transaction. Even if Chicago decides to cut Boyle, he’ll get three game checks, and the Bears still have to allocate a roster spot for him.
Perhaps GM Ryan Poles made such a strong commitment to Boyle because he’s worried that backup quarterback Trevor Siemian’s oblique injury will limit his ability to fill in for Justin Fields if needed. But that’s unlikely, considering Siemian just played a full game with the injury.
Instead, the Boyle signing should sound alarm bells about Fields’ status for the rest of this season. The Bears now have Fields, Siemian, Boyle, and Nathan Peterman on the roster; that’s a lot of quarterbacks to carry at this time of year. Maybe Peterman will get his walking papers now that Boyle is in town. Or maybe Fields is about to be shut down for the season.
It wouldn’t be all that surprising if Poles and coach Matt Eberflus decide to put Fields on ice. They just watched players like WR Darnell Mooney and safety Eddie Jackson suffer season-ending injuries in Week 12 against the New York Jets. Both right tackles — Riley Reiff and Larry Borom — suffered injuries too. It was a harsh dose of reality for how risky it will be to put a less than 100% Fields back in the lineup.
And here we are, just days after several Bears left MetLife stadium with serious injuries, and Boyle is locked into a roster spot for (essentially) the rest of the regular season. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to draw a logical conclusion here.
Don’t be surprised if Fields is scratched from the Green Bay Packers game in Week 13. Then comes the Bears’ bye week, and if they’re sitting at 3-10 with three meaningless games left to play? Fields can start preparing for 2023.