The Bears have signed free agent wide receiver Justin Hardy, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network first reported on Tuesday.
The Bears made it official announcing the Hardy addition, but also the signing of wide out Jon’Vea Johnson, and to make room for their two new players they waived defensive back Rojesterman Farris and receiver Khalil McClain.
Hardy was out of football in 2020, but he previously spent 2015 through 2019 with the Falcons. In his time there, he caught 95 passes for 946 yards and 9 touchdowns and served as a key special teamer during his tenure.
Prior to being drafted by Atlanta in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Hardy was an accomplished weapon at East Carolina. Topping the 1,000-yard mark in three of his four seasons with the Pirates, he finished his collegiate career with 387 catches, 4,541 yards and 35 touchdowns. He has the second-most receptions in FBS history, as well as the fourth-most receiving yards.
Hardy figures to have an uphill battle to make the Bears’ roster, even with the team’s recent trade of Anthony Miller to the Texans. The 29-year-old will have to battle with the likes of Riley Ridley, Javon Wims, Damiere Byrd and Marquise Goodwin for a roster spot. However, Hardy’s special teams experience does give him an advantage that players like Ridley and Wims lack.
Jon’Vea Johnson was a UDFA of the Cowboys in 2019, and he spent time on their injured list and practice squad for a couple years. He figures to be a long shot to make the roster.