The New Orleans Saints took a risk by signing Cam Meredith to an offer sheet, and the Chicago Bears surprisingly declined to match.
Last week, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis signed restricted free agent Cam Meredith to a two-year deal worth $9.6 million.
The Chicago Bears had five days to match the offer and automatically retain their young, talented wide receiver. Instead, GM Ryan Pace let Meredith walk, apparently believing he can’t come back from a brutal knee injury sustained last summer.
Meredith, 25, was terrific in 2016, catching 66 passes for 888 yards and four touchdowns. Coming into 2017, he was expected to be a key part of Chicago’s offense before ripping up his knee in a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans.
While the recovery process is ongoing, Meredith is expected to be ready for the regular season. Why the Bears wouldn’t match, considering their ample cap space and need at the position, is mind-boggling. Chicago could have simply offered Meredith a higher tender and almost guaranteed that no team would make an overture. Instead, the Bears played with fire by giving Meredith an original-round designation, inviting a smart team to swoop in.
New Orleans is getting a valuable weapon to its already potent offense. The Saints already boast a top receiver in Michael Thomas, but they add both depth and speed in Meredith, who should come in during three and four-wide sets. Meanwhile, the Bears are hoping that Taylor Gabriel pans out, and that Allen Robinson — who is also coming off a torn ACL — maintains his status as an elite receiver.