The Anthony Miller era is over. His time with the Chicago Bears will be remembered for some brief highs and mostly a string of disappointing lows. It is beyond frustrating for fans. It was obvious from the most GM Ryan Pace traded up to get him in 2018 that Miller had talent. He’d dominated at Memphis with his mixture of quickness, speed, and strength. The guy gave off Antonio Brown vibes. He was that good.

His seven touchdowns as a rookie seemed to reinforce those beliefs. Then…nothing. Miller improved his stat line slightly in 2019, mostly thanks to a surge in the second half of the season. However, he failed to capitalize on it last year as he suffered a significant regression. One characterized by dropped passes, erratic route running, and of course his now-infamous right hook against Chauncey Gardner-Johnson in the playoff loss to New Orleans.

Combine that with the ascent of Darnell Mooney?

His fate was pretty much sealed going into this offseason. At last, Pace found a taker for him. The Bears reportedly shipped receiver to the Houston Texans along with a 7th round pick in exchange for a 5th round pick. An inauspicious end for a young player with loads of potential. On the surface, this deal seems fair. A closer inspection though says Pace knew exactly what he was doing.

The Texans are a team heading straight for a full rebuild. Reports are they will likely trade star quarterback Deshaun Watson at some point in the near future. That leaves Tyrod Taylor as their most likely starter in 2021. Their defense was also 30th in the NFL last season and will be switching from a 3-4 to a 4-3 this year. There is a strong possibility Houston ends up being the worst team in the NFL this coming season. That means the Bears might have received the top 5th round pick in the 2022 draft.

Anthony Miller may have set up Bears for something big

Why is this so important? A 5th round pick is a 5th round pick. That isn’t something worth getting excited over. Well, in normal circumstances it wouldn’t. With this Bears regime though, it is a different story. No organization has owned the 5th round of the draft quite like the Bears since Pace took over in 2015. Just look at the list of names acquired.

  • Adrian Amos (2015)
  • Jordan Howard (2016)
  • Bilal Nichols (2018)
  • Darnell Mooney (2020)

Having the top pick in any round can often prove crucial. Malik Jackson was the second pick in the 5th round in 2012. Grady Jarrett was the first pick in the 5th round in 2015. George Kittle was the second pick in the 5th round in 2017. The Bears could be in a premium position come next April. A nice little parting gift from Anthony Miller.

As to their plans after him?

It appears the slot duties will fall to none other than Allen Robinson. A significant shift in plans for the star receiver, but not unexpected. He is their best route runner and the slot often demands that. With Mooney, Marquise Goodwin, and Damiere Byrd providing speed on the outside? It is a logical shift to make.

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Erik Lambert
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.