In one of the more brutal injuries of the season for the Chicago Bears, stud defensive end Roy Robertson-Harris injured his shoulder and will be forced to miss the remainder of the season after he has surgery this week, per the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
#Bears disruptive DT Roy Robertson-Harris is having season-ending shoulder surgery this week, sources say. A blow to the Chicago defense, but Robertson-Harris will be healthy by March to have a nice payday in free agency.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 9, 2020
Robertson-Harris has been one of the better defensive role players for the Bears since the team signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2016. Since that time, RRH has become a staple on one of the better defenses in the NFL, and, as Rapoport suggested, the defensive end is likely opting to get surgery now so he’ll be healthy by the spring, when he is expected to garner significant interest as an unrestricted free agent. Thus, unless Chicago re-signs him, Robertson-Harris may have played his last snap as a Chicago Bear.
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Roy Robertson-Harris Stats: A Pest for Opposing QBs
Robertson-Harris spent his entire rookie season on the reserve/non-football illness list, but he made his presence felt not long into the 2017 season, which was his first. Robertson-Harris has played in 52 games for the Bears since the 2017 season, starting 13. He has 75 tackles, 7.5 sacks, a fumble recovery, 30 quarterback hits and nine tackles for loss.
He saw his playing time increase in 2019, when he played in a career-high 51 percent of the Bears’ defensive snaps, chipping in to help replace an injured Akiem Hicks. Chicago slapped a second-round restricted free agent tender on Robertson-Harris this past spring, signaling how valuable they thought he was. He signed a one-year, $3,259,000 million contract with the Bears earlier this year, and he’ll be looking to make more than that in a potentially expanded role when he hits free agency in 2021, much like ex-Bears Nick Kwiatkoski and Nick Williams did.
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Look for Expanded Role for Mario Edwards Jr.
With RRH going down for the year, look for former Raiders second-round pick Mario Edwards Jr. to see his role on defense expand significantly. Edwards was taken by the Raiders 35th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, and he started 10 games as a rookie before missing all but two games in 2016 due to a hip injury. He started 14 games for the Raiders in 2017, and he amassed 3.5 sacks, four tackles for loss and nine quarterback hits playing 46 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. He was waived the following year, and he spent a season with the Giants in 2018 and last year with the Saints.
The Bears picked Edwards up right after the Saints released him this September, and he has been one of the more pleasant surprises on defense. He has played in eight games for Chicago, and he has already tied his season-high in tackles for loss (four). He also has two sacks and four quarterback hits, which is impressive when you consider he has played in just 19 percent of the team’s snaps on defense. With Robertson-Harris out, his role should increase, and that number will most definitely go up.