When in doubt, follow the money.
It's advice that can spill over into all walks of life, and it certainly holds true in the NFL.
Let's take a look at the situation involving Fred Miller, who the Bears have offered a one-year contract to for the minimum-salary benefit of $830,000. That means he would count just $445,000 against the salary cap to presumably come in and be a backup. Miller has made it clear he would like to return to the Bears, and his camp has maintained all along that if the money is close, not even, but close, he will return to the Bears.
With the Miller Watch now three weeks old, and news of the contract offer now nearly a week old, you can come to one conclusion--the money isn't close. Either that or Miller's been too busy at a family wedding in Houston to reach out to the club or his agent. It's fair to assume Miller would like some type of provision where he would be paid starter money if he indeed plays a significant amount of time. The Bears have said they're happy with John Tait and John St. Clair and that looked all well and good until St. Clair had two false starts and missed a block that led to a hit and interception. That happened all in a span of four snaps Thursday night at Cleveland, two of which were wiped out by penalty.
Miller's situation could directly impact the future of seventh-round pick Kirk Barton.
Here are some other scenarios to at least ponder while the Bears and other teams keep the football world waiting:
1. At this point, even with Miller having a working knowledge of the Bears' playbook, would he even be in uniform for the Sept. 7 opener at Indianapolis if he signs by the end of the weekend? The Bears are pretty convinced Miller isn't serious about playing football elsewhere this season given his ties to the area. If the club waited until after Week 1 to sign him, his contract would not be guaranteed. If he is on the roster in Week 1, his contract is guaranteed for the season.
2. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the Steelers are considering dealing tackles Max Starks or Trai Essex. Interest anyone? Starks is making big money for one year only as he got the rarely used transition tag.
3. Is Terrence Metcalf a lock to make this roster? He's still rehabbing his way back from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee that took place four weeks ago this coming Tuesday. Josh Beekman started all four preseason games at left guard.
Veteran Kynan Forney, who has started 89 games for the Atlanta Falcons and was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2005, is in jeopardy if being let go today. Forney is in a backup role and is set to earn big bucks this season. If the Falcons let him go, would the Bears have interest?
Final cuts are due to the league office in less than five hours now. No word on what time the Bears will make theirs and then make official announcements. Stay turned.