Ryan Poles may be starting to fill the Chicago Bears wide receivers room to capacity.
The new Bears general manager is set to add two veteran wideouts to the team’s roster. Per NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Bears are signing ex-Tennessee Titans receiver Tajae Sharpe to a one-year contract.
The Bears currently have 12 receivers on the roster not including Sharpe and Pettis, so expect a few corresponding cuts when the team makes its latest signings official. Undrafted free agents Cyrus Holder, Landon Lenoir, Henry Litwin and Kevin Shaa are the likeliest candidates to be released, but we’ll see how it plays out.
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Dante Pettis: Background & Stats
Pettis played his college ball at the University of Washington, where he caught 163 passes for 2,256 yards (13.8 yards per reception) and 24 touchdowns. He was the top punt returner in the nation as a senior, and he set an NCAA record with nine punt returns for touchdowns over his four years with the Huskies.
San Francisco selected Pettis in the second round (44th overall) of the 2018 NFL draft, and after showing promise as a rookie, the wideout gradually fizzled into oblivion before getting waived by the 49ers in November 2020. Pettis started seven games his first season, catching 27 passes for 467 yards and five TDs. All remain career highs.
The 26-year-old receiver saw his playing time decline his second season in 2019, starting just four games and catching 11 passes for 109 yards and two scores. He wound up being a healthy scratch when the 49ers made the Super Bowl after the 2019 season, and Niners coach Kyle Shanahan noted in November of that year that Pettis didn’t “take advantage of his opportunities.”
After San Francisco let him go a year later, he was picked up by the New York Giants. He caught four passes for 76 yards and a score in two games with the Giants that year. He spent part of the 2021 season New York’s practice squad, eventually getting elevated to the active roster, and he in three games, catching 10 passes for 87 yards and a TD.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Pettis has major low-risk, high-reward potential for the Bears. He is athletic and can stretch the field, and if he catches on and finds a way to contribute in Luke Getsy’s offense, this could be a nice low key depth signing for Chicago.
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Tajae Sharpe: Background & Stats
Sharpe played for Massachusetts for four years (2012-16), catching 277 passes for 3,486 yards (12.6 yards per catch) and 16 TDs. The Tennessee Titans selected him in the fifth round (140th overall) of the 2016 draft. He played in all 16 games as a rookie, starting 10, finishing with 41 receptions for 522 yards and two scores in his first year.
A foot injury kept him out of the entire 2017 season, but he rebounded nicely and played in all 16 games the following year, starting 13. The Titans chose not to re-sign him after his 2019 campaign, and he has bounced around a bit since, playing for the Minnesota Vikings in 2020 and for the Atlanta Falcons last season.
In his five years as an active player in the league, Sharpe has 117 catches for 1,397 yards and eight TDs. He played 54% of Atlanta’s offensive snaps last year, and hasn’t had any significant injury issues since 2017.