Nobody has bothered to bring it up lately, but new information means it is time to raise the subject again. Many Chicago Bears fans were up in arms against GM Ryan Pace this time last year. Why? It started when the New Orleans Saints made an unexpected ploy to sign restricted free agent Cameron Meredith to an offer sheet.
It seemed like such a trivial thing at the time. Of course the Bears would match the offer. Meredith was one of their better receivers after all. He had over 800 yards in 2016 and was poised for a breakout in 2017 before he suffered a bad knee injury in the preseason. He was a personal discovery of Pace. It made no sense to let him go.
One day passed. Then two. Then three. Before people realized what was happening, the fifth and final day of the deadline arrived. The Bears did nothing. Just like that Meredith was on his way to New Orleans, leaving some to wonder if Pace had lost his mind. The offense had been terrible in 2017. Why would he give away a solid receiver for nothing?
His only explanation at the time was clear concerns about Meredith’s knee and trust in the Bears medical staff. Time has turned out to prove him right.
Source: Saints WR Cameron Meredith has agreed to a pay cut, reducing his base salary from $3.4M to $1.3M for 2019. His cap number reduces to $4.15M, creating space for New Orleans. A knee issue limited him to 6 games last season.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 21, 2019
Ryan Pace deserves credit for making the right call on Cameron Meredith
There is always risk involved with letting players go. There is a chance they could regain their old form and thrive. However, that is often the exception. Not the norm. Pace was of the belief that the knee injury Meredith suffered would have a detrimental impact on his long-term career. The fact that the receiver missed 10 games in 2019 and is now taking a pay cut just to stay with the Saints proves that.
The Bears moved forward with Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Antony Miller. Matt Nagy thusly sent Mitch Trubisky to his first Pro Bowl. There is no debating the facts. Pace made the right call. If he had matched Meredith’s deal, then the Bears would be doing what the Saints are. Trying to free up as much money as possible without outright admitting they’d made a mistake.
So perhaps it is time to trust more in that Pace knows what he’s doing and that these decisions are made after careful consideration of all the detail. Like any good GM would do in his place.