Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions:
“Did the Bears make an error in not placing a higher tender on Cameron Meredith as a restricted free agent? It looks like he could be signed to an offer sheet which could force the Bears to pay him much more? – Nick, Schaumburg
“The Bears made a calculated move in placing the original round tender on Meredith at $1.907 million. Because he was undrafted, they will not receive any compensation in the event he signs an offer sheet with another club and the Bears elect not to match it. Meredith visited the Colts on Tuesday and from what I understand he has at least one more visit lined up. The Colts and any other team are going to want to take a close look at Meredith’s surgically repaired left knee and allow their doctors and medical staff to gauge exactly where he’s at in terms of recovery. There’s an element of risk involved there, not unlike the situation the Bears got into by signing Allen Robinson, who is coming off a torn ACL. The Bears could have placed the second-round tender on Meredith and ensured no one came knocking on his door because it’s highly unlikely another team would have forked over a second-round pick in order to sign him. That would have cost $2.914 million. As I wrote in the Mailbag recently, it’s going to take a pretty good offer for Meredith to sign, in my opinion. If he bets on himself for this coming season, he could put himself in line for a much bigger pay day in free agency… The Bears could always match an offer sheet too but they’ve invested heavily in the position with Robinson ($14 million annual average) and Gabriel ($6.5 million annual average). If there is a team that believes Meredith will bounce back this season and they like his upside, things could get interesting quickly.”
My first instinct was to say that the Bears were doing the same thing with Meredith as they did with Kyle Fuller. That is, let the market determine his value, then pay him. And that still might be how it works out. The best thing that could happen if you are the Bears is someone negotiates a reasonable deal for you. Having said that, I doubt it will happen but, as Biggs says, if someone decides to pay him like he was never injured, it could get interesting.
I don’t say this kind of thing often but I actually believe in Meredith as much as he probably believes in himself. If I’m the Bears, I just pay him whatever the market demands and the amount invested in the position be damned. The way salaries are rising, in a couple years it will probably be considered a bargain no matter what they are playing the position. To me, Meredith has shown enough to prove he can play it. You don’t let your own walk when that’s the case.