Chicago Bears made a big mistake letting Cameron Meredith walk

The Green Bay Packers have one less worry inside the NFC North this season.

The Chicago Bears’ offense has been taking shape this offseason. First they hired Matt Nagy as the new head coach.

Since, Bears GM Ryan Pace has been busy surrounding young quarterback Mitch Trubisky with talent. The Bears beat the Packers to Allen Robinson‘s signature, while also bringing in tight end Trey Burton and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel.

Along with the return of receiver Cameron Meredith and a piece or two added to the offensive line, the offense looked set.

But that was before Pace’s head-scratching decision to let Meredith leave.

The New Orleans Saints signed Meredith to an offer sheet, a contract of two years for $10 million, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The Bears have the cap space to easily accommodate that contract. Instead, Pace declined to match the offer. Meredith now departs and the Bears receive no compensation.

For that price, the Saints are getting a risk-free deal here. If he reaches his potential, they’ve just added a big-time complement to Michael Thomas in their already high-powered offense. If Meredith doesn’t play well, they can easily get out of the contract.

Meredith missed the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL, but he had shown a ton of potential the year prior. In 2016, the 6-foot-3 pass catcher made 66 receptions for 888 yards and four touchdowns. With more talent around him than back then, the sky was the limit.

Chicago’s loss is New Orleans’ gain.

It’s not a perfect result for the Packers, as the Saints are set to be one of the top contenders in a crowded NFC, but it’s never a bad thing for a division rival to lose a talented player.

Would the Bears have matched the same offer had it come from Green Bay? If not, consider it an opportunity missed for Brian Gutekunst, who has made it clear he’s searching for a new wide receiver.