Did Chicago Bears mishandle Cameron Meredith tender?

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Cameron Meredith
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18: Cameron Meredith /

The Chicago Bears are facing a tough decision with Cameron Meredith. Did they mishandle tendering him in a situation that may cost them?

Cameron Meredith recently signed an offer sheet from the New Orleans Saints. The Chicago Bears, who tendered the restricted free agent now have the decision as to whether or not they will match Meredith’s offer sheet.

However, as many across the media landscape are now pointing out, the Bears could have almost certainly ensured that they would not be in this situation. It only would have cost them $1 million.

The Chicago Bears placed a low-level tender on Meredith. Therefore, because he is an undrafted free agent, if the Bears do decline to match his offer sheet, they will not get compensation. If Meredith were to sign the Bears tender, it would have been a one-year$1.9 million deal.

However, the Bears could have elected to give him a second-round tender. This would have given the Bears a chance to ink him to a one-year $2.9 million deal. Of course, like this current situation, Meredith would have the opportunity to find a better offer. The catch is that with the extra million paid, a team would have beat the $2.9 million, and trade a second round pick if the Bears did not match the offer sheet.

The Saints signed Meredith to a two-year $10 million deal. If the Bears match the offer, they are now on the books for one extra year, and $2.1 more dollars next year, as well as $5 million in 2019 compared to what they would have had they spent the extra million to second-round tender him. The Saints giving him $5 million per year shows they had high interest in him and are not concerned with his health.

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However, they are not going to give him that and trade a second-round pick to the Bears. No one is trading a second-round pick to the Bears for Cameron Meredith if that is all that he got on an open market. There is almost no way around this one, the Bears screwed up.

The worst-case scenario of Meredith signing the $2.9 million second-round tender is that he gets injured again in training camp, in which you just move on in 2019, or he plays so well the Bears are forced to extend him at a higher rate than they imagined.

Now, the Saints added a second year so if he does not play a snap this season, they are still somewhat invested. On top of that, even if he plays well enough that you want him in 2019, you still have to decide how to maneuver a long-term contract because 2019 would be his last year under contract.

This is a bad look for the Bears, and it may speak their confidence in Meredith and their decision on whether or not they match. If they did not value Meredith to the point where they did not see anyone beating a one-year $1.9 million deal, they do not value Meredith. Adding an extra year and about $8 million in total value could easily be out of their price range. Have we seen the last of Cameron Meredith?