While Vernon Hargreaves was the splashy names among players in for a workout at Halas Hall on Thursday, it was someone else making an impression that led to them signing with the team.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports Davontae Harris, who played collegiately at Illinois State, is set to join the Bears:
Harris was one of five players the Bears reportedly had in town for tryouts on Thursday. All five players were on the defensive side of the ball, with three being defensive backs. Considering Thomas Graham Jr.’s recent hamstring injury, it made sense that Chicago took one of the cornerbacks from the bunch.
Harris, 27, was a fifth-round pick (151st overall) by the Bengals in 2018. The Illinois State product has been bouncing around the league since, spending time with the Broncos (2019-20), Ravens (2020), Chargers (2021), and 49ers (2021). Listed at 5-11 and 200 pounds, Harris has scattered nine starts in his 39 appearances as a pro. His most extensive work came in 2019, where he played in all 16 games and made six starts in Denver. It is worth noting Harris’ special teams experience, as he has been on at least 33 percent of third-phase snaps in four of his last five teams. Perhaps that is a role waiting for him in Chicago.
The Bears have to make a corresponding transaction (IR stint? roster cut?) in order to make Harris’ addition officially official. We’ll see how that cookie crumbles in due time.
UPDATE 1: The Bears announced corresponding roster moves to accommodate today’s signings by waiving defensive lineman Auzoyah Alufohai and Jon Alexander.
UPDATE 2: If you notice in the sentence above, I said the Bears were accommodating signings. That’s plural. Because in addition to adding Davontae Harris to the mix, the team is also bringing in defensive lineman Trevon Coley. Like Harris, Coley was among the handful of players working out at Halas Hall on Thursday. Coley, 28, has 44 games (31 starts) worth of playing experience with the Browns (2017-18), Colts (2019), and Cardinals (2020). Coley didn’t play in 2021, as he landed on IR in August 2017 while with the Titans after suffering an injury in the preseason.
In brief, the Bears are swapping out some younger defenders for those who have some experience. And in the case of Coley, experience with Head Coach Matt Eberflus after the two crossed paths in 2019. We’ll see if there are some other roster shakeups coming soon. The first cutdown date is August 16 when rosters go from 90 to 85 players.