N'Keal Harry wanted out of New England a year ago. He received his wish on Tuesday.
The Patriots traded the former first-round selection to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round selection, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported, per sources. The trade was made official on July 13, per the transaction wire.
Harry arrived in New England as the first high selection at the position in years, but never lived up to the expectation as a Patriot. He played in just seven games as a rookie and never broke 350 receiving yards in a season with New England, arriving at a strange time of transition for the Patriots under center. When 2021 arrived, Harry was ready for a change of scenery but didn't receive it, instead narrowly making the team's 53-man roster before appearing in 12 games (four starts), catching just 12 passes while teammates Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers found success with rookie quarterback Mac Jones.
The big-bodied Harry moves from a club in which he never quite fit to one in need of receiving reinforcements. Chicago is entering the first year of a new era with low expectations. Darnell Mooney stands as the team's best receiving option, while veteran Byron Pringle joins the squad after leaving Kansas City, and rookie Velus Jones arrives from Tennessee.
Chief among Chicago's priorities is protecting quarterback Justin Fields, who too often was harassed by opposing pass rushers in his first season. The addition of Harry gives Fields another target to work with, but the Bears' fortunes will ultimately come down to how well they can protect Fields.
Harry receives a new chance to start his once-promising career elsewhere. Chicago isn't exactly the most title-ready squad, but the former Arizona State star didn't fare well with one that expected to contend and reached the playoffs in 2021. Perhaps a larger role with a team still in need of talent is what Harry needs to succeed. He'll attempt to prove that to be true in his new home.