For another $1 million dollars, the Bears could have made sure Cameron Meredith was theirs this season.
But apparently the concerns over his reconstructed knee forced them into a cautious valuation, and so they lost him without compensation yesterday when they didn’t match the Saints offer sheet for the wide receiver. They tendered the former undrafted rookie at the lowest level of $1.9 million, when tendering him at $2.9 million would have gotten them a second-round pick if someone would have signed him away (or more accurately, scared off any suitors for a year).
Granted, Robinson has better back-of-the-football-card stats than Meredith, but not by a margin larger than the difference in their paychecks. Robinson had a 1,400-yard season in 2015, but in 2016, his 73-catch, 883-yard, six-touchdown stat line isn’t much different from Meredith’s 66-888-4.
Considering the Bears monitored Meredith’s rehab all last season, they’re in the best position to know what’s happening in that knee. But given General Manager Ryan Pace’s track record of finding qualified receivers vs. the Saints’, it’s worth wondering whether they were penny wise and pound foolish on this deal.
Drafted in the first round, Davis was tasked with the difficult challenge of starting at middle linebacker from Day 1. He played every defensive snap in six of his first seven games — only missing time in the outlier due to a concussion – but had noticeable struggles in coverage and with his pursuit angles, leading to being one of the league leaders in missed tackles.
By mid-season, the coaching staff reduced the rookie’s role, pulling Davis off the field on obvious passing downs. The idea was to narrow his focus on Sundays and work on his coverage skills on the practice field, building him back up to the complete linebacker he needed to be.
If Week 17 was any proof, the development plan put in place was a success. Davis played every snap in season-ending win over the Green Bay Packers and delivered his finest performance. He recorded a season-high 12 tackles (without a miss) and forced a fumble.
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The strong close to the year buoyed Davis’ spirits heading into his first offseason.