The Bear Goggles On Countdown to Kickoff series is now underway. With 81 days to go until the Bears season kicks off we will highlight the Bears player that is wearing number 81, wide receiver, Cameron Meredith.
Meredith didn’t play at all in the first two games of the season and was limited to just a few looks in sub packages in games three and four. It was games five through sixteen where Meredith broke out. Meredith tallied 836 yards with 60 catches over those games. He was a breakout star with four games over 100 yards and emerged as the Chicago Bears top pass-catching threat.
It was Meredith’s emergence that probably made Ryan Pace more comfortable letting Alshon Jeffery go. Meredith appears to be ready to take the torch as the top pass-catching playmaker on the Bears’ team and looks to repeat his 2016 season this year.
As of right now, all signs point to Meredith being even better this season. Meredith will have 16 games as the top receiver on the team, rather than just 12. The Bears also have Kevin White hoping to emerge and have signed plenty of secondary targets with Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz.
All those players shouldn’t affect Meredith at all. If he’s ready to take over as the WR1 on the team, he will see plenty of targets each and every game. Meredith is set to prove he’s a true WR1 and emerge as one of the top 15 wide receivers in the NFL. Meredith should go over 1000 with over 80 catches.
Future with Bears
How can you not say Meredith’s future is bright? Meredith is a restricted free agent after this season. If Meredith plays like he is expected to this season, it wouldn’t shock me if the Bears look to extend him at a reasonable price (and reasonable guaranteed money) before he even has a chance to test the market.
With the departure of Jeffery, Ryan Pace has now jettisoned every wide receiver that was on the roster when he took over and has completely overhauled the position. It’s time now for Pace to focus on locking down the players who emerge as reliable targets.
With White’s injury history, Meredith becomes a critical cog for the future of the position and a critical target for rookie Mitch Trubisky. Whether Meredith repeats his 2016 performance or improves upon it, it seems almost a certainty that he remains with the Bears.