Cameron Meredith will join the New Orleans Saints after the Chicago Bears declined to match their $10m offer sheet for the wide receiver.
Meredith, who missed all of last season with a serious knee injury, agreed a two-year deal with the Saints last week.
The Bears had until Wednesday to match that offer, which came with $5.4m in guaranteed money, but they have opted to move on from the 25-year-old and will receive no compensation for him as he went undrafted out of college.
Meredith caught 66 balls for 888 yards in 2016 but was unable to add to that last season after injury ruined his third season in the NFL before it began.
The Bears had dire need for new blood at Meredith’s position during the offseason and have so far managed to add Jacksonville’s Allen Robinson and Atlanta’s Taylor Gabriel in free agency.
Meredith – assuming he returns fully fit – adds another receiving weapon for Drew Brees as the Saints quarterback prepares for his 18th season in the league.
Brees had something of a down season in 2017 and threw only 23 touchdown passes, which was his lowest total since 2003 when he was a member of the San Diego Chargers.