Since drafting wide receiver Anthony Miller in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears have yet to receive a full return on the franchise’s investment into Miller. Originally, Chicago traded back into round two, sacrificing a 2019 second-round pick to nab Miller at 51st overall.
Three seasons into his NFL career, Miller has drawn mixed results. As a rookie, the arrow seemed to be pointing up for the former Memphis wide receiver. After leading the Bears with seven receiving touchdowns, many predicted Miller would breakout in 2019. The start of his sophomore campaign would disappoint but finish strong, catching 35 passes over the final seven weeks of the season.
Heading into 2020, Miller’s production was more consistent all across the board but the emergence of now-second year wide receiver Darnell Mooney led to Miller becoming the Bears third wide receiver. Miller would also start just six games, the second-fewest number of his career.
As Miller begins his fourth season with the Bears, his future is in question. The subject of trade talks throughout the offseason, Miller is still on the Bears roster but Chicago has added competition this offseason, hoping to ignite some sort of fire under the fourth-year wideout.
The odds aren’t necessarily against Miller but if he does falter in 2021, he’ll hit the free-agent market during the 2022 offseason. At that point, some team will take a flyer on him, on what could be a one-year prove-it type deal. If Miller somehow has a breakout season in 2021 with the Bears, Chicago will have a decision to make: Does the franchise extend Miller when names like Allen Robinson, James Daniels, David Montgomery, and Roquan Smith are all in line for contract extensions next offseason?
Miller may be on the Bears roster but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s in the Bears’ future plans. What’s at stake for Miller in 2021 is his NFL future. Between 2019 and 2020, many fans have used inconsistent quarterback play to justify Miller’s struggles. Inconsistency at the quarterback position is a reason Miller’s production has taken a hit but so are mental lapses and wrong route running, both of which have been on display whenever the cameras are on Miller.
As Chicago continues to prepare for the 2021 NFL season, Miller will be amongst the most intriguing player to watch throughout the duration of the offseason. Will he show up to Halas Hall for offseason team activities a totally different player or will we see the same old Miller in 2021 that we’ve seen over the last three years? It’s a question that only Miller will be able to answer.