The Chicago Bears’ running backs room became a little more crowded with the addition of Knile Davis, which the team announced on Saturday night.
Davis joins a competitive position group behind Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and Benny Cunningham. He figures to challenge Taquan Mizzell and Ryan Nall for a possible fourth running back slot. Mizzell and Nall took snaps with the second-team offense during Saturday’s practice while Cunningham was sidelined with a reported shoulder injury.
To make room for Davis on the roster, the Bears waived offensive lineman Kaleb Johnson.
Davis didn’t play in 2017 after being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers before the start of the regular season, but has four years (and 57 games) of experience under his belt. A vast majority of Davis’ experience (55 games) came with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2013 to 2016, where he crossed paths with Matt Nagy when he was an assistant under Andy Reid. Well, that’s certainly convenient. Davis also played two games with the Green Bay Packers during the 2016 season, where he was traded from Kansas City to Green Bay in exchange for a conditional draft pick.
Davis’ most productive rushing season came in 2014 when he was given 134 carries, gained 463 yards, and scored six touchdowns. He also has a pair of return touchdowns under his belt, which suggests he could have additional value as a special teams contributor.
How many running backs the Bears decide to carry is still to be determined. The 2017 team carried four on the 53-man roster, but usually kept three (Howard, Cohen, Cunningham) on the active game-day roster. Should Davis play well enough to impress the Bears’ decision makers and the team chooses to carry four running backs, it’s possible that someone like Davis – who has knowledge of the system who also brings something as a special teams player – could have a leg up on a pair of younger players. But since Davis has a lot to prove before we get to that point, let’s just say he has an up-hill battle ahead of him.