The Bears have chosen to not match Cameron Meredith‘s offer sheet with the Saints, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Meredith will now join Drew Brees & Co. in New Orleans on a two-year deal.
The Saints inked the restricted free agent to an offer sheet late last week, which triggered a five-day window for the Bears to match. Because Meredith was tendered at the lowest level, the Bears will not receive draft pick compensation.
The Bears, apparently, were skittish about Meredith’s medical situation. The receiver is coming off of a torn ACL and MCL, so there is a bit of risk in the signing for the Saints. However, if he is healthy, this will likely prove to be a brilliant value add for New Orleans.
The Saints now project to start Mike Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr., and Meredith at wide receiver. With Mark Ingram in the backfield, tight end stands as the Saints’ last major need at a skill position. Currently, the Saints have Josh Hill, Coby Fleener, Benjamin Watson, and Michael Hoomanawanui in their TE group. None of those players offer the same upside as, say, Jimmy Graham, whom the Saints tried to sign in March.
The presence of Saints wide receivers coach Curtis Johnson played a big role in Meredith’s relocation to Louisiana. Johnson worked with Meredith in Chicago and fought for him to make the Bears’ final cut in the summer of 2016. Meredith rewarded his confidence by catching 66 passes for 888 yards in just ten starts.
Meredith will now play on a two-year $9.6MM deal with $5.4MM guaranteed. With incentives, the deal could be worth as much as $12.6MM.
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