Royal (toe) was released by the Bears on Thursday. Royal's release has been anticipated for some time after it was reported in March that the team was waiting to release him until he could pass a physical. It's likely that he's nearly recovered from his December toe surgery, which is why he was finally let go. The veteran wideout will turn 31 later this month and likely still has enough in the tank to be a contributor for another club.
The Bears are expected to release Royal (toe) once he can pass a physical, the Chicago Tribune reports. Royal had surgery in late December to repair a turf toe injury, finishing his second season in Chicago with 33 catches for 369 yards and a pair of touchdowns in nine games. He's been an effective slot receiver for the Bears when healthy, but his age (30) and 2017 base salary ($5 million) seemingly make him a poor fit for the rebuilding Chicago offense. Assuming the toe heals as expected, Royal shouldn't have much trouble finding another job as a slot specialist and potential return man. It's unclear when he'll be able to pass a physical.
Royal (toe) completed the season with 33 receptions for 369 yards and two touchdowns while playing in nine games before being placed on injured reserve on December 19. Royal had posted at least 43 yards in five of six games to start the season before struggling through injuries that eventually led to him being shut down for the season. He'll be under contract with the Bears in 2017, and he'll likely compete for a role as a slot receiver. His fantasy value will eventually depend upon him being able to earn a significant role with the team.
According to Bears coach John Fox, Royal (toe) will be placed on injured reserve, ending his season. Royal missed Chicago's past three games due to a lingering toe problem, which will cost him the Bears' last two tilts as well. With his fate sealed, Royal will finish the 2016 campaign with 33 receptions on 43 targets for 369 yards and two touchdowns, and 166 yards with one score on his 19 punt returns. With both he and Marquess Wilson heading to IR in the past week, the Bears are left with the recently-reinstated Alshon Jeffery, Cameron Meredith and Deonte Thompson as their top three wideouts.
Royal (toe) has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Packers. Royal's toe problem will cost him a third straight game, and with Marquess Wilson (foot) sidelined indefinitely, the Bears receiving corps now has another injury to deal with. On the bright side, the team is expected to welcome back top wideout Alshon Jeffery from suspension Sunday.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3 Year Avg||61||44||462||3||21||10.50||64|