Kevin White was supposed to be the story of the 2016 Bears. But a second leg injury and second season lost have marred the development of the freakish athlete thought to be Chicago’s “next big thing”. The most likely scenario for White is the Gravitron spins again at the Feast of Football, 2017.
Enter Cam Meredith.
A local kid from Berwyn (an area I only know because of the great music venue FitzGerald’s), Meredith went undrafted out of Illinois State in 2015. Due to severe injuries at the position, his rookie year saw him on the field far more than anyone expected. Production? Not so much. But throughout 2016’s off-season program word started to circulate that Cam’s game was coming into form. He looked terrific in Bourbonnais, with Marquess Wilson’s injury opening the door for a fourth receiver. Even some commenters to this site (IrishSweetness) were lauding him as possibly the best receiver on the roster.
It took the perfect storm. An injury to Kevin White. An injury to Jay Cutler. Brian Hoyer’s bizarre desire to throw the ball to people not named Alshon Jeffery.
2 catches against Dallas.
4 cagainst Detroit.
Then the breakout. Indianapolis. 9 catches, 130 yards, 1 touchdown. Did he also fumble at a crucial moment in the game? Of course. But this is no longer a season where wins and losses are the crucial part of the story. The emergence of another talented wide receiver could have huge, lasting implications for the Chicago Bears moving forward.
- What if Meredith, come December, looks like a top of the ticket wideout? Will this dissuade the Bears from giving the big money to Alshon Jeffery required for his services?
- Could the Bears enter 2017 with a Jeffery, Meredith, Royal, White collection of receivers that would make it difficult for any quarterback, perhaps even a high-pick rookie, to fail?
- Might the emergence of Meredith simply take the pressure off White in 2017? If the Bears know they have two top receivers already in place, the development of a third could be looked at as icing on the cake.
Meredith’s development now becomes one of the stories to watch for the remainder of 2016. With Cody Whitehair and Jordan Howard and Bryce Callahan and others across the defense. Meredith has an opportunity to not only be a productive part of the offense moving forward. At only 24, he has an an opportunity to be a cornerstone of the Chicago Bears organization for the next decade. For a kid from Berwyn, that has to be something of a dream come true.