Fans didn’t mourn the departure of Cameron Meredith too long. The Chicago Bears signed Bennie Fowler to fill the void left by the former undrafted free agent. It seems rather fitting since Fowler too went undrafted to the Denver Broncos back in 2014. Unlike Meredith though, he never really got his chance to shine.

Meredith took advantage of injuries in 2015 and 2016 to the Bears roster to get more playing time. As a result, he thrived two years ago for 888 yards on 97 pass targets. To date, Fowler has never seen more than 56 in a season. That was last year, resulting in 350 yards and three touchdowns. Most of his career was playing a depth role behind Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.

Unfortunately, he may have to continue that job in Chicago behind Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. Right now he’s in competition for the third slot on the depth chart. That’s around where he was a season ago. The good news is he’ll be in a much more open offense than the one Denver has. Maybe that can help him continue his upward career trend.

Chicago Bears signed Bennie Fowler for depth and opportunity

Common sense says Fowler is nothing more than an extra body with experience. Somebody who can stop the Bears receiving corps from being so top heavy. It in no way should deter Ryan Pace from targeting a receiver early in the draft. So what exactly are they getting in Fowler? According to someone who’s watched him for years, the equivalent of old, reliable pickup truck.

Fowler is not a burner but he’s not slow. He has enough juice to find separation and is actually quite good in the open field after the catch. He shows quality vision to find the open lanes or the open areas of coverage. His bigger 6’1″, 217-lbs frame is also a benefit. Chicago is going to run the football a lot with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Having Fowler out there could lead to some big plays.

Given the injury problems the Bears have had at wide receiver, adding someone like Fowler makes plenty of sense. He may not have the ceiling that Meredith did but he’s a better fit for the offense, cheaper and comes with a clean injury history. One of the most underrated aspects of an NFL player is reliability. Bennie Fowler is reliable. Anything beyond that in 2018 will be gravy for this team.