A Quick Look
The Bears Get:
N’Keal Harry (24 year old Wide Reciever)
The Patriots Get:
2024 Seventh Round Pick
As a first round pick, Harry signed a 4 year, 10 million dollar contract in 2019. He will make a base salary of just over 1.8 million dollars in 2022 and have a cap hit of just over 1.8 million dollars. He is in the final year of his deal and will be a free agent in 2023, as the Patriots already declined his fifth year option.
In Depth Breakdown/Analysis:
The Chicago Bears recently traded for former Patriots and first round selection N’Keal Harry. The Bears gave up a 2024 seventh round pick, which when looking at Draft Capital, is equivalent to a bag of Lays Oven Baked Potato chips. On any other team in the NFL, this trade is meaningless, but considering the receiving room of the Bears, this has the potential to be a very exciting trade. Will this move make the Bears contenders? No. Will it help them win an extra game or two? Maybe, but most likely not. However, with training camp right around the corner it gives Bears fans a better look at the receiving group for the 2022-23 season.
N’Keal Harry had a slow start to his career in New England, recording a disappointing 598 yards and messily four touchdowns on 57 receptions over the past three seasons. However his stats aren’t what fans should be looking at (even if they are pretty lousy). Instead, their eyes should be on the fact that Harry is a freak athlete. Standing at 6 foot 4 inches and weighing 225 pounds, he ran a 4.53 40 yard dash at his draft combine which is impressive considering his size and weight. This fits the type of wideout the Bears have added this offseason such as Byron Pringle (6-1, 203 lbs, 4.46 40 yard dash) and Velus Jones Jr. (6-0, 204 lbs, 4.31 40 yard dash). It was evident Harry needed a fresh start and now he gets that chance in the Windy City. If Luke Getsy and the offensive coaching staff can design an offense to play to his strengths and give him a true chance to shine, expect Harry to surprise the people who have given up on him.
While Harry is gifted athletically, he has come up short in the Patriots offense. Can he show up in the Bears new offense?
There isn’t much data to go off of in his limited stats but something that jumps out to me is a 84.7 PFF run-blocking grade. In a Luke Getsy offense that is going to be run heavy, this could be a huge addition. I’m sure plenty of Bears fans remember when Allen Robinson stopped blocking downfield for Justin Fields against the Packers last season, and with receivers who specialize in blocking, moments like this are almost certain to be left in the Matt Nagy era. As Wideouts and Tight Ends are a large part of blocking for the quarterback and running back, rostering two of the highest rated blocking receivers (N’Keal Harry and Byron Pringle) will help the offense reach a higher tier than we saw in 2021. Aside from run blocking, Harry also gives Fields a large target down field, which is necessary for any Quarterback to succeed in today’s pass heavy NFL.
When push comes to shove, this is a great acquisition for Ryan Poles and company. The Bears get a physical receiver who can provide competition in training camp and only lose a seventh round pick. It would be awesome if Harry turns into something great but realistically he will probably be the third or fourth option on opening day. If he can rack up over 400 yards this season, I would be thrilled. In my eyes, this is the Bears front office taking a flyer on a historically bad receiver who is still young and on an expiring deal. It will be fun though to watch the receivers compete in camp for the two through five spots now that Harry has been added to the mix.