Ryan Pace was quick to match the Packers offer sheet for Kyle Fuller. As for Cameron Meredith, the Bears waived goodbye to a homegrown kid.
I think it was a no-brainer to bring back Fuller. The former first round pick is coming off a tremendously successful season and now becomes a staple on your defense. The cornerback position is very important in today’s NFL and you cannot have enough of them.
As for Meredith, the Bears apparently did not feel he was worth the money. The Saints signed Meredith a two-year, $9.6 million offer sheet with $5.4M guaranteed. Is he worth that kind of money? The Saints sure think so. Yet the Bears did not feel the money was right, even though they still have ample cap space before the NFL draft.
Meredith broke out onto the NFL scene in 2016, racking up 888 yards and four touchdowns, and showed he could be a play maker in the Bears offense. The expectations were high going into last season but injury struck and made the Bears wide receiver group even weaker.
Was it all about the money? We do not know for sure. Pace and the medical staff could have also been unsure about his knee and do not want to gamble on it. Here is my take: if the Bears really wanted to keep Meredith, they would have placed a second round tender on him. It was only a million dollars more than the low level tender. So looking back did the Bears make a mistake? Maybe. But looking ahead to the NFL draft in the coming weeks, wide receiver is now a priority for Pace and Matt Nagy.
An interesting development on Meredith’s health was that he said on ESPN today that he does not know when he will be 100% but hopes to be ready for camp. What if he started camp on the PUP list? Wouldn’t fans be even more mad then that the Bears are paying Meredith around $5M a year to be hurt and unsure when he will return? You have to look at it all angles. The Bears felt that his medicals were not something they wanted to invest in and the offer sheet was a bit pricey for one solid season in the NFL.
Meredith is now behind us. He will team up with Drew Brees and if he gets 100% healthy, he could become a reliable target for Drew Brees. Now, wide receiver is a gaping hole on the roster but the NFL draft is right around the corner.
These past few weeks, all eyes have been on ESPN mock drafts selecting Quenton Nelson to the Bears at pick eight. Bears fans are all over it. The Notre Dame product is a plug and play starter and would solidify the offensive line. Yet there is always the argument that a offensive guard is not worth that high of a draft pick. But Nelson’s athleticism and power he displays on film would be very hard to pass up.
The Bears are in a very good spot at eight considering the amount of QBs that could go at the top of the draft. They are also in a very valuable spot if a QB fell to pick eight and a team wants to jump up and get them. Pace could afford to trade down a few spots and still grab a play maker. Also, the Bears do not have a third round pick. They could get a nice haul of draft currency for trading out of eight.
So if the bears were to trade out of eight, how far will they go down? The Dolphins and Bills are teams that come to mind. The Bills have two first round picks at 12 and 22. That would be a great start to trade talks. Being able to grab two first round prospects and being able to address multiple positions on Day 1 is exciting and a huge step for the future. The Dolphins are at pick 11 and the Bears could pick up a few other day 2 and 3 picks.
You are probably asking, where does wide receiver come into the picture? Well, if the Bears agreed to a deal with the Bills, you could grab an impact player on defense and grab a receiver toward the end of the first round with pick 22. Calvin Ridley may be gone by then, but DJ Moore, Courtland Sutton and Christian Kirk is a good group to choose from. And if they moved down to pick 11 from Miami, then Calvin Ridley would make a lot of sense. Ridley is an explosive receiver and would flourish in the West Coast/RPO scheme. And to have Robinson and Ridley on the outsides for Trubisky would be dangerous for opposing defenses.
This offseason has been all about surrounding Trubisky and while a top ten pick for Ridley may seem too high, outside the top ten is a better value, especially acquiring more draft picks later in the draft to fill other needs. The draft is almost here and I expect Pace to be aggressive once again whether that’s moving up or trading down and gaining more picks.