The Bears bolstered their return game Tuesday morning with a rare in-season trade, landing veteran returner Jakeem Grant from the Miami Dolphins.
To land Grant, the Bears reportedly sent the Dolphins a 2023 sixth round draft pick. NFL Network first reported the trade.
Grant, who is just 5-7, 171 pounds, averaged 11.7 yards/return in 2020 with a touchdown. The Bears got a chance to scout Grant closely in August when the Dolphins visited Halas Hall for joint practices. In the preseason game against the Bears at Soldier Field, Grant had a 34-yard punt return.
The Bears have been scrambling at punt returner since Tarik Cohen tore his ACL in Week 3 of the 2020 season. Ted Ginn Jr. filled in last year but let too many punts hit the ground and was eventually let go. Right before the 2021 season started, the Bears claimed Nsimba Webster off waivers from the 49ers, but he had the same problem in Sunday’s win over the Lions, allowing at least two catchable punts to hit the ground.
The trade for Grant is an indication that the Bears do not expect Cohen to return anytime soon. He is on the Physically Unable to Perform list and is not eligible to play until Week 7 at the earliest.
The Bears were dealt another blow Sunday when star running back David Montgomery suffered a knee sprain. He is expected to miss at least a month, which means current kick returner Khalil Herbert could get more carries. If that’s the case, Grant could help as a kick returner too. He has averaged 24.8 yards per kick return in his career with two touchdowns, but hasn’t been a full-time kick returner since 2019.