Cameron Meredith’s health status isn’t top of mind right now, especially after the Chicago Bears revamped their wide receivers room much to the delight of anyone who watched that group in recent years. But it will be after reading Sean Payton’s most recent comments about the ex-Bears receiver who signed with the Saints in the offseason.
“I made a comment to (Saints’ director of sports medicine) Beau (Lowery) two days ago during the walk through,” Payton said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Just watching him move around and, you guys saw him, he’s way ahead of schedule. And certainly where our doctors had hoped and even better.”
Payton said he has a “clear vision” for Meredith, who didn’t participate in team drills on Thursday. For what it’s worth, the expectation is Meredith will be ready for Week 1. That’s good news for him and the Saints, though it makes you wonder about the difference in medical evaluation was between the Saints and the Bears.
It was clear that the Bears were hesitant to jump into a second multi-year deal for a wide receiver coming off a season-ending knee injury when the team decided not to match the Saints’ offer sheet for Meredith, who was a restricted free agent.
Perhaps that should have been evident when the team placed the low-round tender on Meredith that didn’t require compensation from a team that signed him away. Instead, the Chicago could have opted to put a second-round tender on Meredith that would have resulted in the Bears receiving the right of first refusal and getting a pick had they decided to let him walk.
It’s all water under the bridge now. The Bears have nine new receivers in camp, which includes a pair of high-profile free agent signings (Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel) and two draft picks (Anthony Miller, Javon Wims).
From our perspective, the thinking behind the Bears’ reasoning could be viewed as reasonable – but it wasn’t at all satisfying. Meredith was productive when healthy and figured to line up in the slot in Matt Nagy’s offense. Or it’s possible that – knowing what we now know about the different positions that are in play – Meredith could have easily slotted into the Zebra role … or any other spot for that matter.