The New England Patriots and Chicago Bears just made an important trade ahead of the 2022 NFL season. According to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Patriots are trading wide receiver N'Keal Harry to the Bears for a 2024 seventh-round draft pick. Harry finally gets his wish of joining another NFL team after requesting a trade last year.
"For the past several months, I have been working in cooperation with the Patriots behind the scenes to put a plan in place to allow N'Keal to thrive in New England," Harry's agent Jamal Tooson said in a statement obtained by Garafolo last year. "Through two seasons, he has 86 targets, which obviously hasn't met the expectations the Patriots and N'Keal had when they drafted a dominant downfield threat who was virtually unstoppable at the point of attack in college. Following numerous conversations with the Patriots, I believe it's time for a fresh start and best for both parties if N'Keal moves on before the start of training camp. That is why I have informed the Patriots today I am formally requesting a trade on behalf of my client."
Harry, 24, was selected in the first round by the Patriots in 2019 and was expected to be a big target for Tom Brady. However, the Arizona State alum had trouble finding consistency, catching 57 passes for 598 yards and four touchdowns in 33 games in New England. In May, the Patriots declined a fifth-year option on Harry's contract, which makes him a free agent after the 2022 season.
"N'Keal understands a key ingredient to production is opportunity," Tooson said. "He will continue to work hard to develop and refine his craft after missing a large portion of his rookie year to injury. His draft-day expectations for his NFL career have not changed. We are confident success is just around the corner for him and will aggressively pursue it."
Harry now has an opportunity to see a lot of action with the Bears as they are a team in transition. Leading the Bears wide receiver group is Darnell Mooney who caught 81 passes for 1,055 yards and four touchdowns last year. And during the offseason, the Bears signed veteran free agents Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown and David Moore while selecting Velus Jones Jr. in the third round of this year's draft.