It has been a busy week for the NFL, and specifically the Chicago Bears. General manager Ryan Poles claimed a league-high six players off the initial waivers on Tuesday, and continued his efforts Thursday.
With N’Keal Harry heading to IR, and Tajae Sharpe out for the season, the Bears needed to either add a wide receiver from waivers, free agency or pull someone from their newly-formed practice squad.
Wednesday, the Minnesota Vikings traded for former first-round pick Jalen Reagor, and in turned cut ties with a 2021 draft pick, Ihmir Smith-Marsette.
The former Iowa Hawkeye wasn’t out of a gig for long, as Poles swooped in and picked up the 23-year-old wideout. In adding Smith-Marsette, Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus added yet another versatile weapon to the fold.
New Chicago Bears wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette brings a wide variety of talent at the position.
As a Hawkeye, Smith-Marsette contributed in a multitude of ways, and early on his special teams prowess is what earned him some notoriety. In his second year, Smith-Marsette was named the Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year.
Over his four years at Iowa, Smith-Marsette averaged 28.7 yards per kick return and scored twice.
But, that’s not all he can do. A six-foot-one wide receiver, Smith-Marsette can be used in many ways on offense. Whether it’s in the screen game, over the middle, or even more creative uses in the run game, he excels when given some space.
In his college days, Smith-Marsette rushed a total of 34 times for 274 yards (8.1 average) with four touchdowns on the ground. As a receiver, he caught 110 passes for 1,615 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Smith-Marsette has quick moves and some excellent, sneaky deep speed. He can be a very versatile weapon in this scheme, which looks to get the ball in many players’ hands and in several different ways.
At the moment, the Bears’ top wideouts include Darnell Mooney, Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis, Velus Jones Jr. and Byron Pringle. However, Jones and Pringle have their health in question still and aren’t guaranteed for Week 1.
If Smith-Marsette can learn the offense in a hurry, he’ll have some chances to get on the field early on this season. Hopefully, the Bears are able to take advantage of a gadget type player like Smith-Marsette and the kid can prove his original team, a rival in Minnesota, dead-wrong for dropping him.