When wide receiver Anthony Miller was ejected from the Bears’ wild-card playoff game for punching known instigator C.J. Gardner-Johnson, it was fair to wonder whether he’d ever play for the team again. A departure moved closer to reality Tuesday, when ESPN said the Bears were talking to other teams about trading Miller.
Miller and his teammates were warned not to engage with the Saints cornerback after he goaded wide receiver Javon Wims into an ejection earlier in the season.
Later in January, chairman George McCaskey said he was not pleased.
“I have a bigger problem with Anthony’s ejection [than Wims’] because they sat him down and told him, ‘Listen, watch out for this player. He’s a punk. He’s going to try to get under your skin,’ ” he told WMVP-AM. “ ‘And with Darnell Mooney [hurt], we really need you to be in this game and help this team.’ And Anthony had the benefit of having seen Javon’s experience.’’
A 2018 second-round pick, Miller’s athleticism is off the charts — he can dominate against man coverage. But the slot receiver’s inconsistency over three years has baffled the team. Miller had more than 72 yards receiving twice last year — and fewer than 30 yards 10 times. In 2019, he had a career-high 52 catches and 656 receiving yards. Last year, he had 49 catches but only 485 yards.
The Bears need to get under the salary cap by 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Miller isn’t expensive — he has a $1.7 million cap hit in the last season of his rookie deal.
The Bears traded up to draft Miller No. 51 out of Memphis. They sent the Patriots their 2018 fourth-rounder and a 2019 second-rounder.