It’s déjà vu all over again for Jordan Howard, the Bears, and the rumor mill.
ESPN’s team of analysts sifted through the NFL’s 32 teams in search of potential trade targets. For the Chicago Bears, team insider Jeff Dickerson lists Howard as that player.
We may not have been as keen to share this particular rumor if this were Howard’s first time in the rumor mill, but it’s not. It’s not even his second. You might recall the time the Dolphins were reportedly interested in an offseason deal that would’ve sent wide receiver Jarvis Landry to Chicago or the time NFL insider John Clayton mentioned Howard as a sleeper trade target for the Eagles earlier in October. This time, the rumor isn’t about a particular team outside of Chicago, necessarily, but rather Howard’s own fit with the Bears.
Indeed, Dickerson expresses a belief that Howard “probably isn’t part of the Bears’ long-term plans” and that he “doesn’t appear to be a good fit in Matt Nagy’s offense.” These are things that have been expressed in passing before, but not necessarily from someone who covers the team as closely as Dickerson does for ESPN. For our part, we can concede that his usage and effectiveness has trended in the wrong direction this season, so there feels like there’s at least something here to discuss (even if we’re no where near ready to entertain an actual, mid-season deal).
To be fair, Dickerson also points out that the Bears’ best-case scenario is to wait until the offseason to deal Howard, because they don’t have someone with his physical stature or credentials (two 1,000-yard rushing seasons and a Pro Bowl appearance in two years is pretty darn good) ready to take his place on the roster. We can agree on that part, and probably add that his usage and importance to the team will only increase as the weather worsens and Mitch Trubisky throws fewer passes.
(Michael: It’s also worth noting that despite a typically short shelf life for running backs, Howard is still just 23 years old and has another full year of team control after this season (excluding any use of the franchise tag)).
And, of course, it’s arguably nonsensical (and kinda risky) to trade someone with Howard’s credentials while the Bears still have a realistic shot at making the postseason. But Howard’s name continues to pop up, and it has me thinking that a deal – especially in the offseason – shouldn’t be totally out of the question.
Bears GM Ryan Pace has pulled off crazier moves before.