So the Bears let rehabilitating wide receiver Cameron Meredith go after they refused to match an offer the restricted free agent got from New Orleans. The Bears original round tender of $1.9 million allowed this to happen and shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that they let the receiver go, after he tore his ACL a season ago.
If the Bears had offered Meredith a second round tender for $1 million more, then it’s unlikely any team would’ve tried to poach the developing receiver. The cost for acquiring any second round tendered player is a compensatory draft pick after the second round of next years draft, a high price to pay for an original undrafted free agent like Cameron.
General manager Ryan Pace’s reasons for letting Meredith go ring hollow though. Pace points out that Meredith was coming off a knee injury… not unlike Allen Robinson, Pace’s big free agent acquisition he signed for 3 years and $42 million. You acquire one wideout for $14 million a year and let another go for $1 million more, both with the same injury. It’s that logic that hamstrung previous head coach John Fox, and Pace’s new quarterback Mitchell Trubisky a year ago, when there was no one to throw to. Former receiver Alshon Jeffery was let go in free agency for nothing and was arguably the best offensive player on the Super Bowl champion Eagles. The cost to retain Jeffery became the same cost to sign Robinson.
If your wondering what all this reshuffling of the Titanic deck chairs is all about, look no further than Pace’s first draft pick ever…Kevin White! When Pace picked White at #7 overall back in the 2015 draft, it was thought he would step right in and replace Brandon Marshall, who was in his prime. Marshall had the best season of his career for the Jets, who acquired him for a 5th round pick.
White hurt himself running drills in training camp in 2015 and complained of shin splints. Two months later Pace announced White would need surgery on his left leg to have a rod inserted to fix his tibia/shin. A year later, after playing in four games, it was announced that White had broken the same leg and would miss the year. This past season after being named the starter, White broke his shoulder blade in the opening game and missed the rest of the season. I feel for White I really do. But injuries is part of the dangers of drafting wide receivers in the first round.
Me personally, I would rather have Cameron Meredith, who only tore his ligament in his knee, than Kevin White, who has been breaking bones, twice without contact being made to his body, and in the same leg. This is a contact sport and White hasn’t proven he can take a hit.
Unless Pace knows there is still something wrong with Meredith’s knee, the only reason he has for letting him move on, is to give White less competition to succeed. General managers are always worried about their draft record, and if White doesn’t succeed, he becomes a huge stain on Pace’s record as GM. This is all about Pace’s ego and not about what’s best for the team.
That Pace didn’t acquire Meredith is another strike against Cameron. I hope that Meredith does get back to full health, because letting your former bosses in New Orleans acquire a broken receiver, would be a total dick move against your former organization.
As the former assistant GM in New Orleans, I would imagine Pace still has good relationships with their front office people. I would hope that Pace is giving them good information on Meredith’s medical records and rehabilitation, and that with New Orleans new acquisition, Pace has opened a door to a willing trade partner ahead of the draft.
Ever since Pace hired an offensive coach in Matt Nagy, there has been this sense with me, that Pace has wanted to draft another wide receiver, a new toy if you will. I don’t agree with getting rid of players or assets, for nothing. The Bears have so many issues across their team and depth that is very questionable. After burning so much money recently, their decision to let Cameron Meredith leave over $1 million seems…awful. I just don’t have any confidence in Pace to make the right moves. I don’t think he’s earned it.