As the Chicago Bears prepare for a shocking offseason, general manager Ryan Poles must first determine who stays and who goes. The first is David Montgomery.
The Chicago Bears finished the 2022 season with a 3-14 record. On their way there, they lost their last 10 games.
As a result, general manager Ryan Poles has the team on the right path to building a consistent winner. The Bears have the richest wallet in the NFL going into free agency. The Poles sent out a lot of inflated contracts and replaced them with short-term, team-friendly contracts.
Now, the Poles have about $120 million and count to spend. While we don’t expect him to go crazy spending money like a bachelor in Las Vegas, he will have the opportunity to go after any free agent he wants. It has a lot of options and that’s what you want when building a list.
In addition to salary cap space, the Poles also have the number one pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Since you already have your franchise quarterback, there will be other teams paying a king’s ransom for that pick. For a team with a number of holes to fill, the Poles can acquire a large number of teams in addition to the eight they already have.
In last year’s draft, he turned five picks, most of them in the late rounds, into 11. He did it by keeping his best picks, two second-round picks. He now he has the first pick and a lot of the late picks are early in the rounds. He can rack up more picks that could speed up the rebuild.
Before that happens, the Poles have to decide who on the current roster stays or goes. There are some players that he feels he should keep. Then there are others who are better off leaving the team.
Let’s take a look at some of those players. First up, running back David Montgomery.
Does Montgomery stay in Chicago?
Montgomery was the third round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2019. He has been a great pick for the team.
In all four seasons in Chicago, he’s one of the few bright spots on the list. He is an all around talent. He has 3,609 rushing yards and 26 TDs while tallying 1,240 receiving yards and 4 TD receptions. Plus, he caught 80 percent of the passes thrown his way, making him a valuable target from the backfield.
Montgomery has done everything the team has asked of him. He’s not only done a good job of racking up yardage behind some bad offensive lines, but he’s also a good blocker for quarterback Justin Fields.
Montgomery is the best pass blocker in the team’s running back room. While many people rave about Khalil Herbert’s yardage and running ability, he doesn’t offer much else. He has trouble being an asset in the passing game. He has just 28 goals in his first two seasons. Montgomery had 35 targets in his rookie season alone.
Plus, Herbert is a pass blocker. Sure, he could improve in that area, but do the Bears really want to wait for that to happen when they already have someone who could?
Montgomery is the versatile player the Bears offense needs. While some feel he doesn’t fit well into the system that offensive coordinator Luke Getsy runs, he really fits. Him and Herbert running as a duo is good for the offense. Herbert is the fast runner who breaks big runs. Montgomery, meanwhile, is the elite contact-balanced striker who can break tackles and gain critical yardage. Also, he can come out of the backfield and make plays by catching the ball. He gives Fields another target he could trust.
Is the money okay?
Of course, with Montgomery becoming a free agent, money is the big question. Yes, the Poles have a large portfolio to work on. However, as I mentioned, you can’t just go out and spend money as if you were printing it. A new contract has to be beneficial for both parties. The Bears need team-friendly treatment that’s also fair to Montgomery.
In today’s NFL, running backs are undervalued. Teams can go out and find one at the end of the draft. Seems like runners are a dime a dozen.
That being said, the free agent market for running backs is about to become saturated. There are a number of endorsements coming onto the open market. Players like Saquon Barkley, Kareem Hunt, Jamaal Williams and Josh Jacobs, among others, could hit the market. Of course, we’ll see how many of them re-sign with their teams or franchise and find out who actually makes it to the open market.
With a plethora of brokers on the market, it could bring Montgomery’s price down. That could be to the Bears’ advantage.
The fans would love to see the Bears sign Barkley since they have money to burn. However, the New York Giants will do whatever it takes to keep him. Also, according to Spotrac, Barkley’s market value is estimated at $12.3 million per season. With so many other holes on the list, spending that much money on one broker is probably too much.
Montgomery, on the other hand, is much less expensive. Spotrac is worth around $7.2 million per season. That’s a number that could keep him in Chicago for more years.
It would be nice if Montgomery played on a good team. He has played on some bad teams but he has played well. It will be great to see how much better he looks when the talent level is so much higher.