Meredith went undrafted back in 2015, which means the Bears won't receive any compensation if he signs an offer sheet with another team and they decline to match it. The second-round tender only costs about $1 million more and would've all but assured the Bears of keeping Meredith, who came out of nowhere to catch 66 of 96 targets for 888 yards and four touchdowns over 14 games in 2016. He suffered a torn ACL last preseason and missed the whole year, but he expects to be ready for the start of 2018 training camp. The Bears' use of an original-round tender suggests they may not share Meredith's confidence, or else they view his impressive 2016 campaign as somewhat of a fluke.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace said last week that Meredith (knee) remains without an official timetable to resume normal football activities, Dan Wiederer and Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune report. "With Cam it's just closely evaluating where he's at, listening to our doctors and trainers and just following his progress and where he's going to be," Pace said.
Meredith said earlier in the offseason that he expects to be "100 percent" healthy for training camp, and though Pace wasn't willing to guarantee as much, there's little evidence to suggest that the wideout has experienced any setbacks in his recovery from September surgery to address a torn ACL and a minor tear of the MCL in his left knee. The 25-year-old looked poised to enter the past season as the Bears' No. 1 wideout, but his outlook is more muddled heading into 2018 coming off a major injury and with the team expected to overhaul its receiver room through free agency and/or the draft. Meredith will also have to prove he's a good fit for the offense that new head coach Matt Nagy will be installing during the offseason.
Meredith (knee) said Wednesday that he expects to be "100 percent" healthy for the start of training camp, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports.
Earmarked for a starting role at receiver entering the 2017 campaign, Meredith never earned the opportunity to build on his 66-catch, 888-yard sophomore campaign after tearing the ACL in his left knee during the Bears' third preseason contest. Now more than four months along in his rehab, Meredith seems to be making positive progress. He said that he's been able to do some light running and leg-strengthening exercises, putting him on track to be fully healed by the summer. The Bears were never really able to find a dependable top target in the passing game while he was sidelined, so Meredith should have the inside track to a starting role if he checks out fine on the health front during camp.
IR was Meredith's final destination since he tore the ACL in his left knee in preseason Week 3. In addition to the ACL, he's also tending a minor tear in his MCL, which could serve to extend the rehab process. With Meredith out of the picture in 2017, the Bears will trot out a receiving corps headed by Kevin White, Markus Wheaton (finger) and Kendall Wright after the release of Victor Cruz (knee).
While it has been confirmed that Meredith tore his left ACL, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune relays that the wideout avoided further significant damage to his knee, thus paving the way for a potential return to the field as soon as late next spring.
Per the report, Meredith -- who is slated to be a restricted free agent after the season -- has a minor tear in his MCL, but there had been fears that the damage to his knee might be more severe and that the wideout could be facing a total knee reconstruction and lengthier rehab than the eight or so months he's now looking at. In the absence of Meredith, 2015 first-rounder Kevin White has an opportunity to make a fantasy splash this season atop the team's wideout depth chart, while Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright, Deonte Thompson, Tanner Gentry, Titus Davis, Josh Bellamy and Victor Cruz are all looking to secure roster spots/roles in the offense in advance of Week 1.
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