Jeremy Langford has gone from the No. 1 running back on the Chicago Bears depth chart to free agent in the span of a year.
The Bears announced Langford, long snapper Jeff Overbaugh, and tight end Ben Braunecker were waived in order to make room for three players who were claimed off waivers from other teams. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports the Bears could look to bring Braunecker back by adding him to the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Speaking of waiver claims, among the players scooped up by the Bears was running back Taquan Mizzell, an undrafted free agent from Virginia who put together a preseason in which he led the team in rushing yards and showed an ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Hence, Langford was expendable.
The move isn’t much of a surprise, considering how GM Ryan Pace has constantly added to the Bears’ running backs room and Langford’s presence on the roster bubble all offseason.
Running back was already a crowded position before the NFL calendar year switched over to 2017, but it didn’t stop the Bears from adding Benny Cunningham as a free agent and Tarik Cohen in the draft. In addition to a stacked depth chart, Langford had offseason ankle surgery and a nagging injury which happened during a team walk through that kept him out of action. When he was finally healthy enough to play, Langford received just 10 preseason carries and averaged just 2.9 yards per attempt.
It’s been a gradual slide for Langford, a fourth-round pick in 2015 who was slated to take over the role of lead back after the team decided not to re-sign Matt Forte after the 2015 season. Last year’s selection of Jordan Howard as a fifth-round selection in 2016 paid dividends as the Indiana product ran for 1,313 yards and went to the Pro Bowl after taking over for an injured Langford early in the season.
He could latch on with another team in search of running back depth, but his skills might be limited to the backfield as he wasn’t much of a contributor on special teams.