Bears wide receiver N’Keal Harry is undergoing tightrope surgery on Thursday after suffering a high-ankle sprain on Aug. 6, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.
The timetable for his return is eight weeks, which isn’t as significant as it could’ve been in the grand scheme of things. Wide receiver Darnell Mooney told reporters Wednesday that Harry was in good spirits after getting the news.
With the NFL’s new rules involving IR — where a player must miss at least four games — Harry could return as early as Week 5 against the Vikings. That’s in line with the eight-week timetable for his return.
Other wideouts dealing with non-significant injuries include Byron Pringle, rookie Velus Jones Jr. and Dante Pettis. David Moore suffered what appears to be a. significant leg injury on Tuesday, but we don’t know the extent yet. Still, it’s safe to say that Chicago’s receiver depth took a brutal blow.
Following Harry’s injury, here’s a look at the Bears’ wide receiver depth:
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Darnell Mooney is Chicago’s top wide receiver heading into 2022. Mooney is coming off his first 1,000-yard receiving season, where he cemented himself as a playmaker for the Bears. Things are looking up for Mooney entering Year 3, where he’ll look to build on his chemistry with quarterback Justin Fields and continue to grow as a downfield threat.
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Byron Pringle projects to be a starting wideout for the Bears this season. Pringle was buried on the depth chart in Kansas City, and he has the chance to establish himself as a playmaker in Chicago. Poles knows what Pringle brings to the table from their time with the Chiefs, and Pringle is a low-risk, high-reward signing for the Bears. Right now, Pringle is dealing with a quad injury that makes him more than day-to-day. But his injury isn’t expected to impact him heading into the regular season.
Velus Jones Jr.
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Velus Jones Jr. is expected to play a significant role as a rookie. Jones isn’t the most polished receiver, but he’s an absolute speedster (just look at his 4.31 40-yard time). Not to mention, Jones is one of the best run-and-catch receivers in this year’s draft class. Jones is on the older side as a rookie (he’ll be 25 years old when the season starts), but he’s got the potential to develop into a playmaker in this offense. Right now, he’s day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
Equanimeous St. Brown
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Equanimeous St. Brown has been one of the standouts this summer in training camp, where he’s developing a connection with Fields. With the Packers, St. Brown dealt with injuries, which found him slipping down the depth chart in favor of guys like Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. St. Brown worked with Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy in Green Bay, so he has a good understanding of Getsy’s scheme. So far, it’s translating to success on the practice field. He’s currently listed as the WR2 behind Mooney.
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The Bears added a veteran wideout in Dante Pettis this offseason, where he figures to compete for one of those final receiver spots on the roster. Pettis, a former second-round pick by the 49ers in 2018, impressed during his rookie season. But he failed to catch on in San Francisco and was traded to the Giants. Perhaps a change of scenery is what Pettis needs. Right now, Pettis is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
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The Bears added another veteran receiver in Tajae Sharpe, who will look to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster. Sharpe, a former fifth-round pick by the Titans in 2016, saw significant action with Tennessee in his first four seasons, with the exception of the 2017 season when he landed on injured reserve. Last season, he saw action in 15 games with the Falcons, logging 25 catches for 230 yards and no touchdowns. Sharpe started training camp on the non-football injury list, but he’s since returned and is taking advantage of reps with Fields following a plethora of injuries at wideout.
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Dazz Newsome didn’t contribute much during his rookie season after spending most of the year on the practice squad. He’ll have a chance to compete for a roster spot, where a full offseason should help him. With injuries to a number of wideouts, Newsome has been making an impression with increased reps. Given he’s listed as the starting punt returner, his special teams contributions could be his ticket to a roster spot.
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David Moore is another solid depth option at wide receiver. In his first three years with the Seahawks, Moore had 1,163 yards and 13 touchdowns. Moore is someone who’s made an impression during training camp with additional opportunities amid injuries. Moore is also a solid special teams contributor, where he played exclusively during stints with the Broncos and Packers last season. Unfortunately, Moore suffered what appeared to be a significant leg injury during Tuesday’s Family Fest. We don’t know the extent yet, but it didn’t look good.
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Isaiah Coulter spent most of the 2021 season on the practice squad. He appeared in just two games for the Bears last season in a depth role. Coulter signed a reserve/future deal earlier this offseason. Coulter is coming off an impressive practice, where he connected with Fields on several occasions. Still, he isn’t expected to land on the active roster but is a candidate for the practice squad.
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Nsimba Webster was claimed off waivers last September, where he was a depth receiver and primary punt returner. He was waived on Oct. 5 and re-signed to the practice squad, where he spent the remainder of the season. Webster signed a reserve/future contract with the Bears earlier this offseason. He projects to be a depth piece on the practice squad.
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The Bears claimed Chris Finke off waivers from the Chiefs following the NFL draft. Finke, a former undrafted free agent by the San Francisco 49ers in 2020, has yet to see action in the NFL after a five-year career at Notre Dame. He signed with Kansas City in May 2021, which is when GM Ryan Poles served as the Chiefs executive director of player personnel. Finke faces an uphill battle for a roster spot.
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Kevin Shaa signed with the Bears as an undrafted rookie free agent following a solid college career at Liberty. Shaa logged 82 catches for 1,364 yards and 12 touchdowns in four years. He’s made some impressive plays during training camp. Still, he’s not likely to earn a roster spot. But he’s a prime candidate for the practice squad.