Miller’s trade-block status was not about obtaining value for a player the Bears do not plan to re-sign, with Adam Jahns of The Athletic noting the former second-round pick is on Chicago’s roster bubble going into training camp (subscription required).
This comes after a minor injury prevented Miller from participating in Chicago’s minicamp earlier this month. Quality minicamp showings elevated veteran signings Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd past Miller in the Bears’ receiver pecking order, Jahns adds, with third- and fourth-year wideouts Riley Ridley and Javon Wims joining Miller on the bubble.
Darnell Mooney usurped Miller as the Bears’ No. 2 wide receiver last season, playing 73% of the team’s offensive snaps (to Miller’s 55%) and outgaining him 631-485 through the air. Neither surpassed 10.5 yards per catch, however, for a still-Allen Robinson-dependent passing attack. Miller has flashed in the past, catching seven touchdown passes while playing through injury as a rookie and posting 656 receiving yards with Mitchell Trubisky at the helm in 2019. The Bears will still need to see more come camp.
Rookie sixth-rounder Dazz Newsomeis sidelined with a broken collarbone, and although Goodwin will be on time to camp after failing to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in the long jump, the speedster has not caught a pass in a game since November 2019. Ridley and Wims’ roster statuses appear more tenuous than Miller’s as well, with Jahns adding the Bears would likely be more willing to carry Miller onto the roster after cutdown day compared to the other two. Miller is set to earn $1.21MM in base salary this season.
November 2nd, 2020 at 2:43pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The league is coming down swiftly on Bears receiver Javon Wims for the punches he threw at Chauncey Gardner-Johnson Sunday. Wims is being suspended for two games, the NFL announced Monday.
You can read the full explanation in the league’s release here. Wims was ejected after bizarrely attacking the Saints cornerback and swinging wildly at him. Wims told team officials that Gardner-Johnson spit on him and ripped his mouthpiece out earlier in the game prior to the incident, sources told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).
The Georgia product plans to appeal his suspension, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network notes (Twitter link). Gardner-Johnson apparently has a knack for getting under people’s skin, as he was on the receiving end of teammate Michael Thomas‘ punch during practice that got Thomas suspended for a game by the Saints.
Wims is a 2018 seventh-round pick from Georgia who played a significant role on offense last year. Appearing in all 16 games with six starts, he turned 39 targets into only 18 receptions for 186 yards and one touchdown. So far this year he has five catches for 35 yards and a score.
Although many have assumed that the Packers will keep DeShone Kizer on their final roster — after all, Kizer is just one year removed from being a second-round draft pick, and Green Bay liked him enough to trade for him this offseason — Eric Baranczyk and Pete Dougherty of PackersNews.com believe the Packers should keep Brett Hundley and cut Kizer if it comes to that. Baranczyk and Dougherty say the game has slowed more for Hundley than it has for Kizer, and the fact that Green Bay recently traded for Kizer should not be a factor in the team’s decision (after all, the Packers were likely to cut Damarious Randall anyway if Cleveland hadn’t been willing to deal Kizer for him). Ideally, the Packers would be able to swing a trade for one of Hundley or Kizer, but failing that, the Packers News scribes think GM Brian Gutekunst should stick with Hundley, who did not play very well in relief of the injured Aaron Rodgers last year.
Now let’s take a look at a few more notes from the league’s North divisions:
Wide receivers Kevin White and Javon Wims both improved their chances of making the Bears‘ 53-man roster during Chicago’s preseason victory over Kansas City last night, as Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. White, of course, was the No. 7 overall pick of the 2015 draft — and GM Ryan Pace‘s first-ever draft choice — but injuries have almost completely wiped out the first three years of his NFL career. Wims was a seventh-round selection in this year’s draft, and Jahns believes the Bears should keep both players and six receivers overall, including Josh Bellamy.
Although Mackensie Alexander is battling an ankle injury, he is expected to start as the Vikings‘ slot corner — and “quarterback of the defense” in head coach Mike Zimmer‘s scheme — if he is healthy, as Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune reports. However, first-round rookie Mike Hughes — who is also battling an undisclosed injury — has been pushing for first-team reps, which is fairly remarkable when considering that he did not play in the slot in college. Hughes could overtake Alexander down the line, but in any case, Minnesota appears to be well-set at the position in the long-term. Alexander, a 2016 second-rounder, has made tremendous strides in his third summer with the club.
Though they had been enjoying an injury- and drama-free offseason, the Ravens have been hit hard with unwelcome news over the past few days. They lost rookie TE Hayden Hurst for three-to-four weeks, they saw star CB Jimmy Smithsuspended for four games — though they at least knew that was coming — and now Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic has more bad news to report. Zrebiec tweets that emerging third-year defensive tackle Willie Henry will miss several weeks with a hernia, while promising rookie safety DeShon Elliott may be out for the season with a forearm injury. Zrebiec adds that the recent spate of bad luck will impact Baltimore’s initial roster construction, because while the team will likely carry Hurst and Henry on the 53-man roster until they are ready to return, the Ravens may need to keep an extra tight end and defensive lineman until that happens (Twitter link). Elliott, meanwhile, is an IR candidate. Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com reports that Henry had surgery for his hernia and Hurst has had surgery for the stress fracture in his foot (Twitterlinks).
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.