The Chicago Bears may be willing to cut wide receiver N’Keal Harry, one insider following the team says.
On the July 16 episode of the “Parkins & Spiegel Show,” Shaw Media’s Hub Arkush spoke to sit-in host Mark Grote about the acquisition of Harry. The Bears traded a 2024 seventh-round pick to the Patriots in exchange for the former first-round WR out of Arizona State after he didn’t pan out in New England.
Harry had just 57 catches for 598 yards (10.5 yards per reception) and four touchdowns in 33 games and 18 starts with the Patriots, and the Bears are hoping a fresh start is what the 24-year-old receiver needs to turn his career around.
When asked if Harry has a chance to start opposite Darnell Mooney, Arkush said it’s possible. “He’s a really interesting body type and player,” said Arkush. “He’s got great hands — that’s not the problem. When I look at the rest of the (wide receivers) room, yeah, I’d say it’s 50-50 he could be a starter.”
It’s also possible the Bears will cut Harry, Arkush says.
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Arkush: ‘Good Chance’ Bears Cut Harry
At Arizona State, Harry put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2017 and 2018, catching 17 touchdowns over those two years.
After getting drafted by the Pats at the end of Round 1 in 2019, Harry battled minor-yet-nagging injuries, playing in just seven games as a rookie after suffering an ankle injury. Hip and knee issues limited him to 12 games in 2021, but if he can stay healthy, he could be one of the more unpredictable players on Chicago’s roster heading into training camp, which kicks off on July 26 for veterans.
Arkush also noted he thinks new Bears WRs coach Tyke Tolbert could be a good fit for Harry.
“One of the assistants that came with the best reputation is Tyke Tolbert, the wide receivers coach. That’s why they made him the passing game coordinator,” Arkush told Grote.
If Harry vibes with Tolbert and second-year quarterback Justin Fields, he’ll stick around. If he doesn’t, or another injury should befall him, he’ll likely get released.
“I think there’s a good chance that Harry doesn’t make the team, there’s a good chance he ends up starting at wide receiver,” Arkush said, adding: “We just gotta get him in camp and see what he can do.”
Arkush isn’t the only one questioning whether the former first-rounder will make Chicago’s roster. Former Bears scout Greg Gabriel tweeted his doubts on July 12, shortly after reports of the trade broke:
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What Does Bears WRs Room Look Like Heading Into Camp?
The Bears will likely keep six WRs on the roster, and heading into training camp, their receivers room is a crowded one.
The team’s top wideout, Darnell Mooney, is a lock to make the team; so are rookie Velus Jones Jr. and free agent Byron Pringle. After that, it’s a crap shoot, with a few WRs standing out more than the others.
In addition to Harry, there’s Dante Pettis, Tajae Sharpe, Equanimeous St. Brown, David Moore, Isaiah Coulter, Nsimba Webster, Dazz Newsome, Chris Finke and undrafted rookie Kevin Shaa.
St. Brown has a relationship with new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy from their time together in Green Bay and Finke has impressed early on in OTAs, but other than that, the final 2-3 spots on the roster at WR remain anyone’s guess. Thus, it’s clear the team’s 2022 training camp is going to be key, for Harry in particular.