The N’Keal Harry-era is about ready to begin in Chicago. After three seasons in New England, and a short stint on injured reserve to begin the 2022 NFL season, Harry will finally get to wear a second NFL jersey after being activated from the team’s IR, according to Bears senior writer Larry Mayer.
The former first-round pick for the Patriots was acquired by the Bears in July in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round draft pick. He had requested a trade from New England just over a year before the trade came but was forced to play out the 2021 season with the Patriots. In three seasons with the Patriots, Harry played in 33 games, catching 57 passes for 598 yards and four touchdowns.
Thus far, injuries have played a significant role in Harry’s young career. The 24-year-old has yet to play a full season in the NFL, missing at least three games each season. His best season came when he appeared in 14 games, hauling in 33 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns.
The big-bodied wide receiver should be granted an immediate opportunity to contribute in a Bears’ wide receiver room that lacks star talent. Harry should, at the very least, be in the rotation as a top-four receiver on the team, ahead of Ihmir Smith-Marsette and rookie Velus Jones, as well as Byron Pringle who was placed on IR two weeks ago.
The addition provides second-year quarterback Justin Fields with two options each for two types of receivers. Leading receiver Darnell Mooney and talented return man Dante Pettis function as smaller, speedier possession and deep ball receivers. Harry joins Equanimeous St. Brown as a second massive target that can be a matchup nightmare for jumpballs and the endzone.
Harry, who returned to practice last Wednesday, will hope to get quickly up to speed. He’ll be available for Chicago’s Thursday night football game this week against the Commanders, then he’ll get a week and a half to prepare for his return trip to New England.