The long-rumored Bears trade of slot receiver Anthony Miller has finally happened.
Miller has been traded to the Houston Texans for a late-round draft pick. The pick wasn't specified in the report and the Bears have not commented on the deal.
The trade rumors started after Miller got ejected from the 21-9 playoff loss in January to New Orleans, but nothing had happened until Saturday.
This alters the look of the Bears receiver corps because it gives Damiere Byrd or rookie Dazz Newsome a shot at the starting slot receiver spot, or even one of the other holdovers like Riley Ridley or Javon Wims. The Bears also have Marquise Goodwin, although his speed has most often been used in the past on the outside with San Francisco and Buffalo rather than the slot.
Miller confirmed the move via social media on Instagram:
"Thank you for everything, Chicago. I'm truly grateful and appreciative of everything the organization has done for me," Miller wrote.
Miller brought great inconsistency to his job in Chicago and last year might have typified it. He caught long, late fourth-quarter touchdown passes to win games in Weeks 1 and 3 against the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, then didn't catch another TD pass.
He caught seven TD passes out of his 33 rookie receptions, but had only four total the next two seasons.
Miller seemed to make strides in Year 2 with career highs of 52 catches and 656 yards but then regressed to 49 catches for 485 yards last year.
More telling than the totals were the comments by coaches at times about Miller needing to be more dedicated to the playbook and knowing the offense.
During the week prior to Miller's ejection against New Orleans in the playoffs, he had told media members they had to watch out for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson because he tried to essentially goad people into losing focus.
Gardner-Johnson had been goading Miller against the Bears earlier in the season, but it was Wims who threw the punch that led to his ejection in that one. Instead of heeding his own warning and comments to media, Miller got ejected during the playoff game when the team didn't have No. 2 wide receiver Darnell Mooney available because of injury.
Miller was practicing in the offseason with the Bears but during OTAs was pulled out and coach Matt Nagy offered a rather sketchy explanation.
"He just has a little minor nick here," Nagy said. "But it's very minor, so in these type of situations we're super, super conservative, and there's no need to get guys out there. But we appreciate him being here for all of the meetings."
Curiously, Miller joins a Houston roster that already has veteran slot receiver Randall Cobb and also Isaiah Coulter. The Texans also have Brandin Cooks, Andre Roberts, Chris Conley and Keke Coutee, as well as rookie Nico Collins as the other wide receivers.
Miller, who is in the last year of his contract, originally cost the Bears a second-round pick to draft. He was the 51st pick of the 2018 draft.
Pace wanted the former Memphis receiver enough to deal away the 105th pick of the 2018 draft as well as a 2019 second-round pick, to New England for the 51st slot.
Earlier in the offseason, receivers coach Mike Furrey was asked about Miller maturing. He didn't seem convinced it had occurred.
"You know you've got to see it," Furrey said. "You know, obviously he's a guy that everybody, everybody at this level there's so much talk but at this level it's all about what you show and what you put on film."