Bears Release Veteran QB PJ Walker, OT Alex Leatherwood

Carolina Panthers quarterback PJ Walker in November 2022
Carolina Panthers quarterback PJ Walker in November 2022. Photo by Scott Kinser/CSM/Shutterstock (13618899am)

The Chicago Bears announced on Sunday that they have released veteran quarterback PJ Walker. The team made several other roster moves, including waiving offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood.

Walker signed with the Bears on a two-year, $4.15 million deal in March after a promising spell with the Carolina Panthers. He was projected to be the backup for starter Justin Fields, but preseason struggles caused him to slip down the depth chart. The 28-year-old only played in Chicago’s first two preseason games, completing 11 out of 23 attempted passes and throwing for 96 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

With Walker out, the Bears will likely move forward with rookie Tyson Bagent or veteran Nathan Peterman as their backup. Bagent, who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Shepherd, now seems to have the upper hand for the job thanks to good performances in training camp and preseason.

The Bears also opted to move on from Leatherwood, who was the former first-round pick in 2021 by the Las Vegas Raiders. The 24-year-old played four games with Chicago in 2022 but failed to make a case for him to remain on the roster this preseason. 

Releasing Walker will cost the Bears around $2 million, while they will also have to pay $4.59 million to Leatherwood, considering it’s unlikely that a team will pick him up off waivers.