Anthony Miller

NFC North Notes: Golladay, Bears, Vikings

With Golden Tate long gone and Marvin Jones entering the final year of his contract, Kenny Golladay figures to be a high priority for the Lions this offseason. Because Golladay was a third-round pick, his fourth season doubles as a contract year. The Lions would like to extend him, and Golladay has expressed interest in a long-term Detroit stay, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets. However, no extension talks have commenced yet. Despite Matthew Stafford missing much of the season, Golladay established career-high marks in receiving yardage (1,190) and touchdowns (11). With the floor for No. 1 wide receivers being around $16MM per year now, Golladay will not come cheap after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.

Here is the latest from the NFC North, shifting first to some more receiving situations:

  • Anthony Miller dealt with as many as five shoulder dislocations as a rookie in 2018, leading to a 2019 surgery. The Bears wide receiver’s shoulder troubles are not over. He underwent another shoulder operation recently, Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com notes. Miller missed time during the 2019 offseason but did not miss a game last season. That seemingly won’t be an issue this year, with COVID-19 making it highly unlikely any teams will conduct any offseason workouts. The former second-round pick came on down the stretch last season, finishing 2019 with 52 catches for 656 yards.
  • The retooling Panthers did not pick up Jarius Wright‘s 2020 option, sending the veteran wideout into free agency. Although the Vikings shed Stefon Diggs‘ contract, do not expect Wright to return to Minnesota. The longtime Vikings slot receiver has a slim chance of returning to the team for which he played six seasons, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. The Vikings released Wright in 2018; the 30-year-old wideout played the past two seasons with the Panthers.
  • The Packers‘ agreement with free agent running back/return man Tyler Ervin is a one-year, $1MM pact, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. Ervin will collect a $910K base salary. The Packers claimed Ervin off waivers from the Jaguars last year and used him on kick and punt returns.

Extra Points: Montgomery, Bears, Miller, XFL

The Bears drafted running back David Montgomery in the third round back in April, not long after they traded away Jordan Howard. Montgomery has the opportunity to earn a large role this offseason, and so far it sounds like he’s been seizing it. Per Adam Jahns of The Athletic, Montgomery was lighting up the Bears’ OTAs and minicamp. Jahns writes that the Iowa State product “led the rookies, if not the entire team, in highlights made during the offseason program.”

Montgomery was somewhat of a bruising runner at Iowa State, so there was some concern coming out of college about how he’d fare in the passing game. That hasn’t been an issue so far, as Jahns writes that he “excelled in running routes and catching passes,” and that he “looked like a problem for the Bears’ defense.” Per Jahns, Montgomery has both teammates and coaches excited. Tarik Cohen will play his usual role, but he’s never going to be able to handle a full allotment of snaps with his frame. It’s early, but it sounds like Montgomery could take over a featured role as a rookie.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Bears sound pleased with Montgomery’s development, and that isn’t the only good news Chicago fans are getting. In the same piece, Jahns reports that the team expects both tight end Trey Burton and receiver Anthony Miller to be ready for training camp. Burton underwent offseason sports hernia surgery, while Miller had surgery to repair a torn labrum. Both players had missed the team’s recent minicamp and OTAs. Burton’s first year in Chicago was a bit of a disappointment after the big contract that he signed, while Miller showed a lot of flashes in a rookie season that was limited by recurring shoulder issues. Both players could be in for a big 2019 if they can stay healthy.
  • The XFL has been gearing up for their first season back recently, holding a series of showcases across the country. A bunch of familiar names have popped up, and we have a new one tonight courtesy of Greg Auman of The Athletic (Twitter link). Tommy Streeter, a 2012 sixth-round pick of the Ravens, will participate in the XFL’s Tampa showcase on Saturday, Auman reports. Streeter won Super Bowl XLVII with Baltimore, although he was on injured reserve at the time. He was cut by the Ravens following his rookie season, and the receiver then had stops with the Bills, Buccaneers, Dolphins, and Jaguars. Most recently, the Miami product played in the CFL in 2016.
  • In case you missed it, 2017 Seahawks second-round pick Malik McDowell is facing charges of assault, resisting arrest, and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

North Notes: Bears, Anderson, Steelers

Anthony Miller showed promise for the Bears as a rookie, hauling in seven touchdown receptions and being a key player from the outset of the team’s NFC North championship season. The Memphis product dealt with a shoulder injury, however, for much of the season. Miller said he dislocated his shoulder at least five times during his rookie campaign, with Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune noting the first such dislocation came in September and the last had him a shell of his optimal version. By season’s end, Miller had faded, finishing his first regular season with a four-catch, 25-yard December. Miller underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in January and expects to be limited throughout the Bears’ offseason program, per Kane, but understandably anticipates a production increase as an NFL sophomore — should he sufficiently recover from this ailment.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Details are in on C.J. Anderson‘s Lions deal, courtesy of Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. The veteran running back’s one-year agreement is worth nearly $1.5MM and can max out at $3MM (Twitter links). Anderson received $200K to sign. Anderson signed for one year and nearly $1.7MM with the Panthers last year. Both of these agreements represent steep pay reductions when compared to Anderson’s previous four-year, $18MM Broncos pact. But the 27-year-old back stands to play a key part in Detroit’s backfield this season, perhaps setting him up for another contract in 2020.
  • Despite the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger having been engaged in extension discussions for more than a month, no impasse between the parties exists, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. While the Steelers have spoken with Big Ben’s agent, Ryan Tollner, little dialogue has transpired between the Steelers and their 16th-year quarterback, Dulac adds. One year and $23.2MM remain on Roethlisberger’s current deal. Despite entering his age-37 season, Roethlisberger stands to take on even greater importance this coming year — considering the caliber of players the Steelers recently lost.
  • The Steelers are doing some research on higher-end cornerbacks in this year’s draft, hosting Rock Ya-Sin and Justin Layne on pre-draft visits Friday, Ray Fittipaldo of the Post-Gazette notes. A former Division I-FCS transfer who played just one season at Temple, the 6-foot Ya-Sin nevertheless rates as the No. 29 overall prospect on NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s board. A converted wide receiver, the 6-2 Layne started two seasons as a corner at Michigan State.
  • After a three-arrest offseason, running back Mark Walton received his walking papers from the Bengals.

Bears Sign 6 Draft Picks

Many NFL staffers responsible for hammering out rookie contracts are having a busy day Thursday. Numerous rookies are signing deals, and the Bears took care of their non-Roquan Smith draft contingent. Here’s the rundown of Chicago’s signings:

Miller adds to what’s been one of the more interesting makeovers any team’s done at the wide receiver position in recent years. The Memphis slot target follows Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Bennie Fowler and others — including the Georgia-trained Wims — to the Windy City. With Kevin White also still in the picture, the Bears will have a unique position battle behind Robinson this summer.

Daniels could step in as a Day 1 starter and relocate Cody Whitehair to guard, where he would line up opposite Kyle Long and fill Josh Sitton‘s old spot. However, the Bears view the Iowa product as a versatile player himself. While Daniels spent most of his time with the Hawkeyes as their starting center, the second-rounder began his college career as a guard.

Smith is the only Bears pick not to have signed his rookie deal yet.

Patriots Trade No. 51 Choice To Bears

After standing pat with both of their first-round picks, the Patriots are up to their usual tricks on Day 2 of this draft.

The Pats are sending their No. 51 overall pick to the Bears, Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets, and they’ll acquire a 2019 second-round choice to do so. Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets the Pats will receive the ’19 Round 2 choice and a Chicago fourth-rounder (No. 105) in this year’s draft.

The Bears will use the higher draft slot to select Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller, who dominated American Athletic Conference competition the past two seasons. Miller posted back-to-back 1,400-plus-yard seasons and totaled 32 receiving TDs in that span.

New England has now traded down twice in the second round, sending both picks to NFC North teams. The Lions moved up to select Kerryon Johnson earlier in this second round.

Miller will join a nearly completely revamped Bears wideout corps, following Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Bennie Fowler to the Windy City.

Draft Rumors: Guice, Key, Ridley, Panthers

LSU running back Derrius Guice has changed representation, going from the firm that represents rap star Kendrick Lamar to one headed up by Lil Wayne, as Darren Heitner of Forbes Magazine writes. Guice is the latest draft prospect to join Young Money APAA Sports, which also represents Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson. Thanks to a buyout of another firm late last year, the agency also has NFL players Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Lane Johnson, Jason McCourty and Seth Roberts in its stable.

Here’s more NFL Draft news:

  • Speaking of LSU, pass rusher Arden Key will visit with the Titans on Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. At No. 25 overall, the Titans could be in range for the athletic prospect.
  • Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley will visit with the Panthers on Wednesday after the team completes it’s trip to Washington D.C., according to Rapoport. Ridley recently met with the Cowboys and is widely projected to be a first round pick.
  • Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson has Top 30 visits with the Bills, Titans, and Buccaneers this week, Rapoport tweets.
  • Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick is visiting the 49ers this week, per Rapoport.
  • Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller met with the Panthers on Monday, according to Rapoport.
  • Florida defensive tackle Taven Bryan, projected as a first-round pick, will have a dozen official visits to team facilities along with six individual workouts on campus, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets. The Buccaneers hosted him on a visit last week, so he could stay in the Sunshine State. Bryan is the 24th best prospect in the draft, according to NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah.
  • The Lions have more pressing needs at running back, pass rusher, and on the interior offensive line, but they could consider safeties early in the draft. The Lions hosted Stanford’s Justin Reid on a top-30 visit last week, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press hears.