8:58pm: The Bears signed cornerback Joel Ross to take Boykin’s place on the roster, the team announced (on Twitter). Ross spent time with the Cowboys and Buccaneers in 2015-16 after coming into the league as a UDFA from Appalachian State last year.
8:04pm: Boykin indeed tore a pectoral muscle, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). He may have to write 2016 off after his initial free agency foray resulted in an action-packed year for the wrong reasons.
Boykin signed with the Bears just last Wednesday after being connected to many teams — and catching on with the Panthers before being released after the draft — this offseason. But we heard earlier today the well-traveled cornerback was dealing with a problematic pectoral injury that was going to induce Chicago to sign another corner. That problem appeared to be quite troublesome for the Bears, who chose to end Boykin’s chances of playing for them this season.
The 26-year-old corner also visited the Falcons and Cowboys, and was rumored to be dealing with a severe hip injury. But the Bears agreed to sign him, making them Boykin’s fourth employer in the past year. The Eagles traded him to the Steelers just before last season. Respected by the analytics community, Boykin did not see much time in Pittsburgh despite being a quality slot stopper in Philadelphia. And the 2016 offseason has been by far his least stable in the NFL.
Injuries, though, haven’t been a problem for Boykin during the season. He’s played all 64 regular-season contests for his Pennsylvania-stationed teams the past four years and played a key role for the Steelers in the playoffs last season despite only making one start during the regular season.
The 5-foot-9 corner made 21 tackles but graded out well in the opinion of Pro Football Focus. Boykin’s best season came in 2014, when he intercepted six passes and amassed 136 return yards.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.