Bears Add Former 1st-Round Patriots WR Via Trade: Report

N'Keal Harry

Getty N'Keal Harry has been traded to the Chicago Bears, per Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo.

At long last, the Chicago Bears have traded for a wide receiver.

The Bears are sending a seventh-round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for 23-year-old wide receiver N’Keal Harry, as reported by NFL insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo.

Harry, whom the Patriots selected out of Arizona State with the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft, has 45 catches for 414 yards and four touchdowns in 26 games and 13 starts over the last two seasons. He never quite caught on in New England, and now he’ll get a second chance in the Windy City with second-year player Justin Fields as his new quarterback.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound receiver caught 213 passes at Arizona State for 2,889 yards and 22 TDs in 37 games, making him one of the nation’s most promising young wideouts when he entered the draft in 2019. There’s potential there, but he has a lot to prove on the field.

Harry’s agent, Jamal Tooson, released a statement on July 6 stating Harry was formally requesting a trade, so this move isn’t a surprise.

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Harry Is Affordable Option for Bears

Still on his rookie contract, Harry is set to earn a base salary of $1,872,047 in 2022, per Spotrac, so he’ll be an affordable addition to Chicago’s wide receivers room. Bears general manager Ryan Poles also sent minimal draft capital to New England in exchange for Harry, with a 2024 seventh-round pick being the only other cost for a crack at a potential WR2. Even if it doesn’t work out for Harry in Chicago, losing a seventh-rounder won’t hurt the Bears much. And if he does play well, Harry has the potential to be a mega-steal for the Bears.

He’s coming off a disappointing 2021 campaign, however. Harry never quite gelled with Pats QB Mac Jones, and a shoulder injury forced him to miss four weeks earlier in the season. He wound up being a healthy scratch from the roster as the year progressed, playing in 12 games and starting just four, finishing with 12 receptions for 184 yards and no TDs.

He still has a good deal of potential upside for Chicago, though.

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Harry Is Big-Bodied WR With Decent Blocking Skills

Per Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus, Harry’s 84.8 run blocking grade from PFF in 2021 was third-best among all receivers in the NFL with at least 100 snaps. Considering the Bears have a solid 1-2 punch at running back with David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert, his ability to block will come in handy.

He should also be an immediate improvement over the team’s other big-bodied WR, Equanimeous St. Brown, who caught just nine passes for 98 yards with the Green Bay Packers last season. Harry could stand to get better when it comes to yards after the catch — he has never averaged more than 3.8 YAC in any of his three seasons, per PFF — but if he can improve his game in that area, he could wind up being a solid contributor for the Bears, who have more than a few wideouts trying to carve out a niche for themselves.

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