Roy Robertson-Harris is expected to have shoulder surgery that would end the Chicago Bears defensive lineman’s 2020 season

Brad Biggs, Chicago Tribune
·3 min read

The Chicago Bears will be without another key player for the remainder of the season.

Defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris, who missed Sunday’s 24-17 road loss to the Tennessee Titans, is expected to undergo shoulder surgery Wednesday that would shut him down for the rest of the year.

The team has not made a roster move yet, but Robertson-Harris likely will be placed on injured reserve and the Bears have two free-agent defensive linemen coming in this week with the possibility they will add one or both.

It’s possible Robertson-Harris, 27, has played his final game with the Bears. He is in a contract year after the Bears tendered him as a restricted free agent at the second-round level to keep him in 2020. He’s earning $3.259 million this season and likely would command much more as an unrestricted free agent.

Big men with the ability to push the pocket from the inside are difficult to find, and the Bears no doubt would like to keep a player they developed. But they will have salary-cap issues to navigate and surely will have to pour resources into improving the NFL’s 29th-ranked offense.

Knowing his value in the marketplace probably made it wise for Robertson-Harris to have the shoulder injury — suffered in the Nov. 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints — fixed now so he will be ready to go in the spring. The expected rehabilitation requires five to six months.

Robertson-Harris is one of the best signings general manager Ryan Pace has made with undrafted college free agents. Originally signed in 2016 as an outside linebacker from Texas-El Paso for a guaranteed $10,000, Robertson-Harris was moved to the defensive line the next season and has shown growth since.

He also has been durable, missing only four games since the beginning of the 2017 season before Sunday’s Titans game.

The Bears were also without nose tackle John Jenkins (ankle) at Tennessee, and nose tackle Eddie Goldman opted out of the season over COVID-19 concerns as a high-risk player. It’s unknown what kind of timetable the team has for Jenkins, who already did a three-game stint on injured reserve with a thumb issue.

The Bears currently have three key players on IR: left guard James Daniels, right tackle Bobby Massie and running back Tarik Cohen.

Free-agent defensive linemen Tyler Clark and Anthony Rush are scheduled to come in this week. Clark was listed as a tryout player, and Rush was listed for a visit on the league’s personnel notice last week.

The 6-foot-3, 289-pound Clark originally signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted rookie out of Georgia this year. He’s basically a run stuffer, and if that listed size is accurate, he might be a little light for the role. It’s the second time the Bears have brought in Clark as he was also part of a group tryout in late September.

The 6-5, 350-pound Rush joined the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent out of Alabama-Birmingham last season. He also has spent time with the Raiders and Seahawks, who waived him Oct. 27. He has appeared in 13 games with 14 tackles and a half-sack.

The Bears suffered two injuries at Tennessee. Running back David Montgomery is in concussion protocol, and special teams ace Sherrick McManis suffered a fractured index finger. The team did get positive news earlier Monday when offensive tackle Jason Spriggs was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

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