Chicago Bears: Impacts of Emanuel Hall’s injury

Chicago Bears (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears announced undrafted free agent Emanuel Hall will have surgery — so what are some of the impacts?

Of all the undrafted free agents the Chicago Bears signed after the NFL Draft, the one fans are probably most excited about is wide receiver Emanuel Hall. The speedster out of the University of Missouri was both extremely talented and productive during his college career.

The last two seasons alone, he had 70 catches for a total of 1,645 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. He can also stretch the field with his 4.39 40-yard dash speed which he showed off at the NFL Scouting Combine. His production and skillset seemed to destine him for a mid-round selection. However, those rounds — and the rest of the NFL Draft — came and went and Hall went undrafted.

Part of the reason was his perceived inability to stay healthy and bounce back from injuries. Whatever the cause for his precipitous drop in the draft, the Bears were certainly the benefactors. However, it was still at least a little bit of a surprise that he chose to sign with the Bears, considering how stacked they are at the wide receiver position.

In any event, he chose the Bears and fans are certainly excited to see what he can do this summer. However, it appears that may have to wait, as the Bears announced this week that he underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia — similar to the procedure Trey Burton had which kept him out of OTAs. As a result, Hall was also held out of OTAs, but the team noted it is possible he is back for training camp.

Irrespective of his timeline to return, there are other impacts resulting from this injury that are worth keeping in mind.

First, it allows the Bears to ensure Hall is truly healthy. As noted above, he had a history of injury problems at Missouri, and perhaps the Bears saw this as an opportunity to get those issues cleaned up. Now that the Bears training staff has a hold of him, they can ensure he is brought along properly and any nagging injuries are addressed in the process.

Second, it gives the Bears some roster flexibility if they choose to exercise it. Currently, along with Hall, the Bears have Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, Cordarrelle Patterson, Riley Ridley, Javon Wims, and Marvin Hall. That’s a pretty crowded receiving corps. However, with the exception of Ridley, all of those wide receivers’ contracts will expire by 2022.

Moreover, the Bears will have some difficult decisions to make relative to the roster, as they try to balance the team’s salary cap situation against staying competitive for a Super Bowl. For those reasons, the idea of young, controllable talent on rookie contracts is appealing.

However, there isn’t a whole lot of room on that depth chart. Therefore, one potential option should they choose to do so, is to place Hall on IR. This would allow the team to keep him without fear of losing him to another team’s practice squad if cut, but also wouldn’t tie up a roster spot. Essentially, it allows the Bears to maximize the number of young, controllable wide receivers on its roster and buys them another year to figure out the long term plan.

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So while the news of Hall’s injury and subsequent surgery is disappointing to fans who were hoping to see him in action, there are at least a couple of silver linings, that make the news somewhat more palatable to digest.