The Bears’ already-thin receivers group just got a little thinner. Byron Pringle has been placed on injured reserve, the team announced today. Pringle suffered a calf injury in the first half of Sunday’s win over the Texans, and he’ll at least four games. His absence is another challenge for a passing attack that ranks as the worst in the NFL. Chicago is averaging just 78.3 passing yards per game.
A depleted receiving core is the last thing QB Justin Fields needs. He is still developing and is already dealing with an offensive line that struggles with pass blocking. Pringle was signed to be Chicago’s No. 2 wide receiver, though Equanimeous St. Brown has filled that role through the first three games.
The Bears hope to have Velus Jones Jr. back for Sunday’s game against the Giants. The rookie wide receiver has been sidelined with a hamstring and has been limited in practice since mid-August. N’Keal Harry is also on IR after having ankle surgery in August. The Bears released veteran wide receiver Tajae Sharpe with an injury settlement earlier this month.
If Jones Jr. and Harry are unable to go Sunday, Chicago will have just four healthy wide receivers. Besides St. Brown, Darnell Mooney and Dante Pettis have seen the bulk of Chicago’s offensive snaps. As a whole, the group has caught 11 of 24 targets for 188 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores came in the 19-10 Week 1 win over the 49ers. Expect the Bears to elevate Nsimba Webster or Isaiah Coulter from the practice squad for Sunday’s game.
The Bears signed Pringle to a one-year, $4 million contract this offseason, and he had two catches for 33 yards on three targets in three games. In three seasons with the Chiefs, Pringle had 67 catches for 898 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s arguably the Bears’ best blocking receiver, so his absence could affect the team’s running game.
Chicago has been rumored to be actively seeking wide receiver help before the trade deadline, though it seems doubtful they’d be willing to part with anything significant for a half-season rental.