Even though Adrian Peterson had a connection to the Bears’ brain-trust and the team was looking to bolster its backfield, rumors that linked Chicago as a team that was reportedly interested in the free agent running back didn’t make sense.
And yet, Albert Breer of SI.com’s The MMQB reports the Bears were in the running to make such a signing: “The Redskins move to take care of Adrian Peterson early – signing him to a two-year, $8 million deal on Monday – was largely prompted by other teams’ interest in him,” Breer wrote. “This year, both the Bears and Jaguars were in it before Peterson decided to go back to DC.”
Despite the Bears’ reported interest in Peterson, there is still the matter of fit. Chicago already has Jordan Howard, a running back who is younger and on a more cap-friendly deal who happens to have similar perceived fit issues because of his limitations as a pass-catcher and a decline in explosive plays. To be clear, Peterson has the better and much longer track record of on-field success, but signing an older, more expensive version of a player the team already had didn’t seem like a solution to any of the team’s backfield problems.
Beyond that, signing Peterson would have invited additional scrutiny to the Bears front office. Remember, Peterson served a one-year suspension that cost him all but one game in the 2014 season after he was charged with child abuse.
And in 2018, Peterson told Bleacher Report he still uses a belt to discipline his son (despite having previously been suspended for child abuse). We know the Bears weren’t all that serious about signing Kareem Hunt, who had off-field issues of his own. So with that in mind, the Bears’ interest in Peterson – an older, more expensive, and less explosive back – remains befuddling. In the end, Peterson joining the Bears didn’t happen and I think the team is better for it.
Moving forward, the takeaway here might be that the Bears are probably going to add another rusher to their mix. Howard is under contract for just one more year, while Tarik Cohen and free-agent addition Mike Davis are in Chicago for the next two years. Knowing how Nagy is liberal with rotating his backs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another fresh body brought in to fight for carries.