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Byron Pringle is entering his fourth season in the NFL and his first with the Chicago Bears after spending three years in Kansas City. He signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2018.
Seeing his role expand each season, Pringle is coming off a career year.
Advanced Stat to Know: Pringle’s passer rating when targetted (135.5) was the third-best in the NFL in 2021 among receivers who saw at least 46 targets. (PFF)
Best Game of 2021
Pringle’s best performance came in the Wild-Card round against the Pittsburgh Steelers when he caught five catches on seven targets for 37 yards and two touchdowns.
That was the second multi-touchdown game for Pringle last season with the other coming in Week 16 against … the Steelers.
Can Byron Pringle handle a larger role without being surrounded by all-pro talent?
There’s no question that Pringle has been able to make a nice career for himself despite going undrafted. His rise in Kansas City was something Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Poles got to witness firsthand.
Clearly, Poles believes there is more untapped potential in Pringle. That’s why he brought the wideout with him to Chicago.
Pringle was the Chiefs’ fourth option last season with 60 targets, but that volume is expected to increase in Chicago as the Bears see him as a WR2. Pringle needs to prove that he can make those additional targets and touches meaningful.
He led the Chiefs last season with 13.5 yards per reception. Can he maintain that high average with more opportunities? If he can, that would be a huge boost for the Bears.
Another obstacle ahead of Pringle is the fact that he is not surrounded by elite talent like he was in Kansas City, playing alongside Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. He needs to showcase that he can make his presence felt despite having more attention from opposing defenses.
He will be playing alongside Darnell Mooney, who was one of 25 1,000-yard receivers last season. Cole Kmet was only 63 yards away from being a top-10 tight end in that regard. It’s not like Pringle will be the focal point defenses will key in on, but he still will have more eyes on him compared to a year ago.
It just shouldn’t be a huge hurdle for Pringle. As long as he makes the same plays he did in Kansas City, he should be able to handle more of a workload in Chicago. He has been consistent throughout his career, catching over 70 percent of his targets each season.
Again, Pringle has gotten better every year since joining the league.
If there were actually serious doubts about his capabilities to take on more responsibilities, Poles would not have brought him to Chicago.
Now is the time for Pringle to show he hasn’t reached his ceiling.
Pringle will be a featured piece of the Bears’ offense that will do most of his work inside. He will finish in the top 3 for the team’s target share this season.
Time will tell if he has more to offer in an expanded role.
Poles is giving him a chance in Chicago on a one-year prove-it deal to showcase his talent and earn a long-term contract.
Pringle should be playing with a large chip on his shoulder. He will be fun to watch.
Prediction: 90 Targets, 63 Catches, 820 Yards, 6 Touchdowns.
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