While Mitch Trubisky being named NVP and Javon Wims dropping a wide-open touchdown pass got more attention in the Chicago Bears’ playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints in January, the Bears’ brass was particularly peeved about wide receiver Anthony Miller getting ejected. Miller punched New Orleans safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the third quarter.
Even Bears chairman George McCaskey expressed his displeasure about the ejection. Wims was also ejected for punching Gardner-Johnson earlier in the season, and McCaskey claims the Bears warned the players all week ahead of the playoff game to ignore the safety’s mind games: “I’ve got a bigger problem with Anthony’s ejection than I do Javon’s.”
The Bears and Miller appeared to be headed for divorce after that incident, especially with very inconsistent play to go with questions about his maturity even before the punch. And with training camp about to start, the Bears have indeed decided to move on from Miller.
Chicago traded Miller to the Houston Texans on Saturday night, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo and Ian Rapoport.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) July 25, 2021
Rapoport reports that it’s simply a late-round pick swap, so the Bears just decided to take an upgraded late-round pick over a potential release.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2021
Houston Let’s Get It!!!!!!!🔋🔋🔋🔋
— Anthony Miller (@AnthonyMiller_3) July 25, 2021
Update: Here are the full details of the trade:
The draft capital involved in the Anthony Miller trade:
* Chicago trades Anthony Miller and a 2022 7th round pick
* Houston trades a 2022 5th round pick
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 26, 2021
Miller, 26, was selected by the Bears — after a trade up — in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Memphis product opened eyes in that season’s training camp, and proceeded to have seven touchdown receptions as a rookie. He followed that up with a 52-reception, 656-yard effort in year two. Expectations were high about him making a jump in his third season, but he had 49 receptions with only a 9.9-yard average (he was at 12.8 yards per reception as a rookie and 12.6 in his sophomore campaign). His three years featured a clear display of fantastic talent as a slot receiver who frequently plays bigger than his 5’11”, 199-pound build, but also featured plenty of frustrating moments: drops, running the wrong routes, etc.
Even with the red flags, he’s absolutely a very worthwhile and intriguing add for the Texans. That organization is a complete mess and lacks talent. Miller has plenty of upside, is still young, and maybe a change of scenery would do him wonders. And, again- it’s only a late-round pick swap, so there’s little to lose and potentially a lot to gain in their position.
The Texans have traded for the dynamic route runner, Anthony Miller. I like this move
— Damian Parson 🏈 (@DP_NFL) July 25, 2021
Texans Newest WR Anthony Miller has a mix of Hands and speed 👀 exactly what we need pic.twitter.com/4Xg2bLuqOM
— Clutch City Entertainment (@ClutchCityENTX) July 25, 2021
With Miller gone, the Bears may play hybrid running back/wide receiver Tarik Cohen some more in the slot, and it appears they will use star wide receiver Allen Robinson more in that role too.
Per a league source with reason to know, the Bears plan to deploy Allen Robinson more out of the slot in 2021 following the departure of Anthony Miller
Ran 25% of routes out of the slot in 2020
Would imagine he’s flanked by Darnell Mooney and Damiere Byrd on the outside
— Brad Spielberger (@PFF_Brad) July 25, 2021
The Miller trade may also open up an opportunity for Bears rookie wide receiver Dazz Newsome (sixth-rounder out of North Carolina) in the slot, but he suffered a broken collarbone in June that required surgery.