With blockbuster trades and signings across the AFC — particularly in the AFC West — during the first full day of the NFL’s 2022 free-agency period, it’s likely that many fans across the league will miss a transaction reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Thursday evening: the Chicago Bears are signing Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Byron Pringle.
As Rapaport noted, this should not be particularly surprising. New Chicago general manager Ryan Poles — previously the executive director of player personnel under Kansas City GM Brett Veach — knows Pringle well. According to Pro Football Network reporter Aaron Wilson, Poles signed the fourth-year NFL veteran to a one-year contract worth $6 million — with $4 million of it guaranteed.
The 28-year-old wideout had a breakout 2021 season, gaining 568 yards (and scoring five touchdowns) on 42 receptions over eight starts as the Chiefs rotated him with Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson as the team’s No. 2 wideout behind Tyreek Hill. Of the three, only Hardman is sure to return in 2022; Robinson is also a free agent.
Pringle — who joined the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State in 2018 — also saw a lot of action as a returner last season, collecting 621 yards on 25 kickoff returns. All told, he gained over 1,189 yards for the team in 2021.
Pringle missed his rookie season on injured reserve — and was only used sparingly during his first two seasons. But his most well-remembered moment likely came in 2020’s Week 7 road game against the Denver Broncos, in which he returned a second-quarter kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown.