The trade is official. The New England Patriots sent N’Keal Harry to the Chicago Bears for a 2024 seventh-round pick. The Patriots announced the deal on their social media accounts and the team website.
The 24-year-old wide receiver, who is headed into his fourth year in the NFL and hoping to save his career in Chicago, took to Twitter to address his new fanbase.
Analyzing the Trade for the Bears and Harry
This is an excellent trade for the Bears and Harry. The Bears are very light at the wide receiver position. Third-year-pro Darnell Mooney projects as the team’s No. 1 receiver in 2022 as he comes off his first 1,000-yard receiving season in 2021.
Still, Mooney isn’t the sort of receiver most teams would have as their top option. At 5’11” and 175 pounds, he is smallish in stature. However, he has proven to be effective, and the 2022 season could be a big one for him.
Behind Mooney, there isn’t much for opposing defenses to fear with the Bears’ wideouts. Byron Pringle, 25-year-old rookie Velus Jones Jr. and Green Bay Packers cast-off Equaniemous St. Brown are the best of the lot. With that depth chart at receiver, it would seem Harry has a shot at not only sticking on the Bears roster but perhaps powering his way into the starting lineup.
This is the sort of change of scenery Harry needs if he is going to realize a fraction of the potential most believed he had coming out of Arizona State in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Bears need him to be a good player, so they should be all-in on providing the proper support.
Because Harry is still just 24 years old–younger than the receiver, they just drafted–he still has time to blossom into a special player. If they can get anything out of Harry, it will be a steal of a deal for Bears GM Ryan Poles in his first year in the role.
In 33 regular season games with the Patriots, Harry started 18 games and had 57 receptions for 598 yards and four touchdowns. He appeared in two postseason games and finished with two receptions for 21 yards.
Let’s just say there is nowhere to go but up for Harry.
What Does this Trade Mean for the Patriots?
On the positive side, they got rid of a seemingly unhappy player and somewhat reduced a bit of a logjam at receiver. Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the deal also saves the Patriots about $1 million on the salary cap.
Beyond those factors, it is hard to find many bright spots in this deal for the Patriots. They used a first-round pick on Harry just three seasons ago. While the horse has been beaten past death, B/R Gridiron reminds us all of the wide receivers still on the board when New England selected Harry.
Having to settle for such a lowly return for a high draft pick makes this deal the culmination of an epic failure on the Patriots’ part. The Patriots failed to find Tom Brady an adequate receiving option, and it is hard not to wonder if the G.O.A.T would have bolted to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency ahead of the 2020 season if Harry had shown signs of becoming a player worthy of a first-round pick.
We’ll never know, but we know New England completely missed with this pick, and now it is time for them and Harry to move on.
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