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OPINION: The Bears Trading Anthony Miller is a Blessing

By trading Anthony Miller, the Bears made a move that actually benefits the team. The young receiver wasn’t panning out in Chicago.

Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

If you haven’t already heard, the Chicago Bears traded Anthony Miller to the Houston Texans yesterday. It comes as no surprise considering the rumors have been swirling for months now. It’s also very much a “Ryan Pace” move to announce something like this late on a Saturday night when almost no one is paying close attention to the news cycle.

Regardless, the trade happened and the Texans fill a hole created with the (stupid) departure of DeAndre Hopkins. The young receiver has had some flashy moments wearing navy and orange, which I’ll highlight below. However, he’s also been extremely inconsistent and has a lapse in judgement at times. This is why the Bears trading Anthony Miller is a blessing.

Anthony Miller Highlights

Let’s not kid ourselves, Anthony Miller had a decent rookie season. In 15 games, Miller caught 33 of 54 balls thrown his way, seven of which were touchdowns. He averaged 12.8 yards per reception and had a season-long 55-yard catch. That’s one big way to put your meat on the table in your rookie season, especially with a first-time head coach and a questionable quarterback leading the offense. In a fan-made highlight reel, you can see a condensed version of Miller’s rookie season. Specifically, at around the 1:22 mark, Miller makes what I think is the best catch he’s ever made against the Jets.

Anthony Miller Touchdown
Photo: NFL/CBS

Miller was stuck in traffic, with little room to work with in the endzone. Mitchell Trubisky made a really nice throw and Miller twisted in the right direction to secure the catch. When viewing this at full speed, it’s quite impressive. At that point in his young career, it was hard not to be excited about his future.

Receiving & Rushing Table
Game ReceReceReceReceRece
Year G Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD
201815543342312.87
201916855265612.62
20201676494859.92
Care47215134156411.711
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/25/2021.

After his rookie season, all of Miller’s numbers went downhill except for his receiving yards. His yards per reception dipped slightly in 2019 to 12.6 and dropped significantly in 2020 to 9.9. Miller scored only four touchdowns over two seasons after his rookie campaign and that’s not enough for a second-round pick. Some people put the blame on the quarterback and that’s fair. Trubisky isn’t anything to be proud of and is extremely difficult to trust.

However, in 2020, Miller also had Nick Foles throwing to him and he couldn’t get much done with him either. The offense as a whole in 2020 was a mess and that is mostly attributed to Matt Nagy’s inability to run a modern NFL offense. In spite of all that, Anthony Miller was never a reliable option opposite of Allen Robinson. He could never be depended on to be “that guy” that made a bad quarterback better.

Questionable Judgement and Attitude

I completely lost it on Anthony Miller in the 2020 NFC Wild Card game against the Saints. I’m certain you know exactly what I mean by that. All week leading up to the Bears’ second playoff game in three years, the talk of the town was about CJ Gardner-Johnson. Earlier that season, CJGJ got into the psyche of Javon Wims, who sucker-punched him, got ejected, and was suspended. Everyone knew that the Bears were already massive underdogs to the Saints. We all knew that the Bears had to play a perfect game and keep their composure against this defender who even gets into the heads of his own teammates. The Bears needed every weapon on the field and they needed everything to be executed perfectly.

Miller lost his composure with Gardner-Johnson getting in his face and got ejected. In the third quarter of a one possession game, in the playoffs, this was a completely bone-headed move and it was the last straw. After that happened, I immediately wanted Miller gone. The game was close against the Saints. There was a chance that the Bears could have come back, especially when down only four points. It’s completely inexcusable for Miller to react the way he did, when we know for a fact that Matt Nagy addressed the issue with Gardner-Johnson leading up to the game. This is exactly why the Bears trading Anthony Miller is a blessing.

With the unknown future for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, fans aren’t sure if Miller can benefit from the change of scenery. He will likely thrive in Houston with Watson, if Watson is even there. Considering they badly need help at the receiver position, he should get a large share of the targets.

The Bears now get to utilize their newly acquired wide receivers. Dazz Newsome, Marquise Goodwin, and Damiere Byrd can fill out the rest of this offense nicely alongside Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. This trade was great for the Bears. They swapped picks with the Texans and got about $1.2 million off their payroll.

Efficient Offense in 2021?

Can the Bears have an efficient and modern NFL offense in 2021? I don’t know yet, but I do feel confident in this trade. I believe Miller would have been an anchor holding the Bears wide receivers back from achieving greatness. Is that hyperbole? Possibly, but they have other options. With a new quarterback in town, it’s time for some new blood in the wide receiver room too. This is only the beginning.

Husband and father, Chicago (mostly) sports fan, total gym rat and geek enthusiast. I write for OnTapSportsNet and talk fantasy football on the Fantasy Hour On Tap. Gaming, movies, TV shows, books, and bodybuilding/strongman are some of my other passions. A good-tasting white ale goes well with any sporting event. #Crackum

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