Bears Forced To Face Another Decision At Receiver

Restricted free agent Cam Meredith is being pursued by at least two teams.

Chris Emma
March 21, 2018 - 3:44 pm
Bears receiver Cam Meredith

Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Categories: 

By Chris Emma--

(670 The Score) When Cam Meredith arrived at training camp in 2015, the Bears could see the potential but perhaps not the production to come.

Converted from quarterback to wide receiver at Illinois State, Meredith made enough of an impression to stick on the roster that year and then took advantage in his second season, posting 66 catches for 888 yards and four touchdowns. He proved worthy of a role within an offense.

The Bears' real belief in Meredith is about to be tested, with a decision looming. Meredith visited with the Colts in Indianapolis on Tuesday in the first of what's expected to be several stops, a source confirmed. He's also expected to visit next with the Ravens in Baltimore. No formal offers have been put to the table yet, though that could be the next step.

Chicago just last week welcomed in a new top target in Allen Robinson and a versatile playmaker in Taylor Gabriel, but there remains a void without a player like Meredith.

The 25-year-old Meredith was tendered an original-round tender by the Bears, which offers them the right to match any offer but awards no compensation should they decline that option. It would pay $1.907 million for this season, with the Bears essentially waiting to see if a team would come on stronger. They passed on a second-round tender that would've paid $2.914 million instead.

After suffering a torn ACL and MCL damage in the preseason last August, Meredith is progressing well in his recovery and projects to be ready for a portion of the offseason program. Still, given their great need at receiver, it was surprising the Bears didn't tack on the extra million-plus that would've better ensured Meredith's return to the team.

The Colts could be the team to offer Meredith a lucrative deal, boasting around $75 million in cap space still and in need at receiver. On the other hand, the Bears have approximately $35 million left and other needs at hand. 

Should the Bears pass on retaining Meredith, they will face a decision at receiver. Allen Hurns, released by the Jaguars on Tuesday, is getting recruited to Chicago by Robinson but likely will get a larger offer elsewhere. Gabriel can play opposite Robinson, though he may be better suited in the slot for coach Matt Nagy's new-look offense. 

Kendall Wright and Dontrelle Inman remain free agents and have garnered interest elsewhere on the open market. Both played well when asked to contribute with the Bears last season. 

The Bears aren't exactly getting their hopes up on 2015 first-round pick Kevin White, who has played in just five career games. Expecting him to fill the role of the No. 2 receiver wouldn't be fair. 

Perhaps general manager Ryan Pace could pass on the open market altogether and look ahead to the NFL Draft, which will be rich in receivers on Day 2. The Bears visited with a number of receivers at the NFL Combine three weeks ago, including Alabama's Calvin Ridley, SMU's Courtland Sutton and Clemson's Deon Cain. 

There will be many options available at receiver, with the Bears able to choose who fits best for their offense. Having weapons like Robinson and Gabriel allows them to be creative in finding the ideal complement.

For now, the Bears will wait to see where the market moves for Meredith and assess where their belief stands in his future.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.