Bears Sign Veteran LB, Place WR on Injured Reserve

Joe Thomas

Getty Veteran LB Joe Thomas has been signed to the Chicago Bears' roster.

The Chicago Bears are set to be without wide receiver Byron Pringle for at least the next four weeks. Pringle was spotted in a walking boot following Chicago’s Week 3 win over the Houston Texans after going down with a calf injury early on in the first quarter.

A few days later, on September 27, the Bears confirmed they have placed Pringle on injured reserve. The earliest the wide receiver will be able to return is October 30, when the Bears take on the Dallas Cowboys. In a corresponding roster move, the team also signed veteran linebacker Joe Thomas to the active roster.

Chicago also elevated the 31-year-old Thomas to its 53-man roster for their game against the Texans. The addition of Thomas could signify that linebacker Matt Adams (hamstring) might be set to miss more time.

An eight year NFL veteran, Thomas has played in 90 games over his career, starting 17. He has amassed 223 total tackles (12 for loss), eight QB hits, an interception, 1.5 sacks and 10 passes defensed since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2014.

Pringle Has not Been the Contributor GM Ryan Poles Hoped

Over his first three games with the Bears, Pringle didn’t contribute much on offense, catching just two passes on three targets for 33 yards.

Chicago signed Pringle to a one-year, $4.125 million contract this offseason, and the hope was that he could emerge as a top weapon for quarterback Justin Fields. Pringle spent the 2019 to 2021 seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, where Bears first-year general manager Ryan Poles got to know him well. That familiarity was at least partly why the Bears signed Pringle, and so far, the 28-year-old receiver’s stint in Chicago has been a big disappointment.

Last year with the Chiefs, Pringle had career-highs in catches (42), yards (568) and touchdown receptions (5). We’ll see when he’s healthy enough to return to action.

Will Pringle’s Injury Prompt Bears to Finally Make a Move & Add WR Help?

With Pringle out, the Bears are more in need of help at receiver than ever. While the Bears are getting close to having rookie playmaker Velus Jones Jr. back –it’s possible Jones returns for their Week 4 road contest against the New York Giants — they don’t have many weapons in their WR corps right now.

The Bears could also get N’Keal Harry back in the coming weeks. They added the third-year wideout on July 12 via trade with the New England Patriots, but he went down with an ankle injury in training camp that ultimately required surgery.

Does Chicago have enough weapons for Fields in a WR corps that currently includes Darnell Mooney (four catches, 27 yards), Dante Pettis (one catch, 51 yards) and Equanimeous St. Brown (four catches, 77 yards)? It sure doesn’t look like it.

“If Fields is to make any strides as a potential franchise quarterback — or a new regime is going to be able to evaluate whether he is the answer to build around — Chicago has to add some veteran receiver help either via free agency or a trade,” Heavy’s NFL insider Matt Lombardo wrote on September 26.

Lombardo is correct, and he’s not the only insider and/or analyst pushing the Bears to add help at the position. We’ll see if the Bears listen.

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