New England Patriots

Cameron Meredith of the Chicago Bears catches a touchdown pass against Patrick Robinson of the Indianapolis Colts during the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 9, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Cameron Meredith is a classic low-risk Patriots signing. In fact, it’s almost like they signed him to a futures contract. Either way, don’t expect Meredith to contribute until 2020 at the earliest.

Mike Reiss and Field Yates of ESPN tweeted the details of Meredith’s contract with the Patriots on Wednesday. It’s a two-year deal with a base value of $2.02 million and no guaranteed money. He’s only able to earn a $720,000 base salary in 2019. So at this point, the most likely move is that the Patriots stash him on injured reserve with an eye toward 2020.

Signs point to a long-term bet on a promising receiver who may need the entire 2019 season to both fully recover from a torn ACL and get up to speed with the Patriots’ whole operation. And the ACL injury came two years ago. Repeated setbacks and lingering issues in his repaired knee precipitated his release from the Saints late last month.

Meredith is still just 26 years old and teams continue to chase his 2016 production, when he caught 66 passes for 888 yards and four touchdowns with the Bears. The Patriots don’t really have to chase anything, though. If Meredith can’t get his knee back to full strength and avoid more setbacks, the Pats can cut him loose at no cost.

The contract is something of a pseudo-futures contract, as Reiss noted. Those shouldn’t be totally dismissed. That’s how the Patriots got Dion Lewis in 2015. Meredith may never make nearly that kind of impact, but there’s little reason for the Patriots not to try with their uncertainty at receiver.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at