New England Patriots

Dec 6, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver N'Keal Harry (1) prior to the game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The N’Keal Harry era in New England has come to an end. After about a year of trade request speculation, the Patriots have found a trade partner and are sending him to the Chicago Bears. The deal was first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. In return, the Patriots will get a 2024 seventh-round pick. By moving Harry, the Patriots opened up about $1 million in cap space.

Harry was drafted by the Patriots in the first round in 2019, He was the first wide receiver taken by the Patriots in the first round in the Bill Belichick era, and the first by the franchise since Terry Glenn in 1996.

After getting injured in his preseason debut as a rookie, Harry played just seven games in his first season, catching 12 passes for 105 yards and two scores. The rest of his time in New England followed a similar pattern, as he struggled to stay on the field, and didn’t show much growth when he did se playing time. He finished his Patriots tenure with 47 catches, 598 yards, and four touchdowns.

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Harry was seen as a longshot to make the roster in 2022. The Patriots have invested heavily at the wide receiver position in recent years, signing Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne last spring, trading for DeVante Parker earlier this offseason, and using a second-round pick on Tyquan Thornton in this past draft.

Even without Harry on the roster, the competition for a potential sixth wide receiver spot is still deep. Ty Mongomery, Tre Nixon, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, and Kristian Wilkerson are expected to compete for that spot.

If Harry makes the roster in Chicago – which he has a shot to do with their rebuilding receiving corps – he could return to Foxborough this season, when the Bears play the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in a Week 7 edition of Monday Night Football.