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It took some time, but the Bears finally added some wide receivers in free agency. It was reported roughly two hours apart on Thursday afternoon that the Bears will be signing former Green Bay Packers receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and former Chiefs receiver Byron Pringle.
The St. Brown acquisition makes this the second offensive player the Bears have signed from their division rival. It started when Chicago added Lucas Patrick to its offensive line on Tuesday night.
St. Brown and Patrick both reunite with offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who was the Packers passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season.
Pringle also reunites with someone he knew on his former team: current Bears general manager Ryan Poles. Last season, Pringle had career highs in targets (60), receptions (42), yards (568) and touchdowns (five).
St. Brown played in 13 games in 2021 and caught nine passes for 98 yards. In his career with Green Bay, the 6-foot-5, 214-pound receiver caught 37 passes on 66 targets for 543 yards and one touchdown. He missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle sprain.
The tandem of receivers gives quarterback Justin Fields more weapons to use in Getsy’s offense. They join Darnell Mooney — who had a career-high in receptions (81) and yards 1,055) last season — and Dazz Newsome, a sixth-round draft pick in 2021.
Pringle and St. Brown both come from organizations that had arguably the best quarterbacks in the league: Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. And Pringle and St. Brown were both depth pieces on their respective teams, so there should be reasonable expectations for both players to make a jump. Can the change of scenery and increased opportunity help the wide receivers take that next step in their careers?
On top of adding depth to the offense, Pringle and St. Brown do provide some special teams value. Pringle played on 31.3 percent of special teams snaps last season. St. Brown had 116 special teams snaps (26.8 percent) in 2021 and was frequently used on punt coverage as a gunner.
Even with the St. Brown and Pringle signings, the Bears still need to add to their wide receiver room to ensure Fields has the best chance of making a positive leap in Year 2.
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