The Jordan Howard trade rumors can be officially put to rest:
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) March 29, 2019
The Chicago Bears have traded running back Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles. In return, the Bears will receive a conditional draft pick in 2020. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports it’s a sixth-round selection that could turn out to be a fifth-rounder.
News of a deal isn’t much of a surprise. Howard’s name has frequented the trading block since Matt Nagy’s arrival, and the head coach’s most recent comments when discussing the team’s running backs situation didn’t paint a picture of clarity regarding Howard’s future with the team. Perhaps the stunning thing here is what the Bears are getting back. This feels like a light return for a two-time 1,000-yard rusher who was a Pro Bowler as a rookie back in 2016, especially since it was reported that the Bears could have landed a third-round pick had they dealt Howard before the trade deadline last season.
I understand how Howard could be viewed as a questionable fit for Chicago moving forward, but for Philadelphia to be the buyer here raises some fair questions. What do the Eagles know about Howard and his potential in the offensive system they run under Doug Pederson? After all, that system is supposed to be similar to what the Bears are operating under Nagy. What makes Howard a fit in Philly when he isn’t viewed as one in Chicago? Why trade Howard now for a draft pick in that won’t help a team in its contention window until 2020? These questions will hopefully be answered once games of consequence are played starting in September.
Howard ran for 935 yards and scored nine touchdowns in 2018. His yards per carry and total rushing yards dipped for the second straight year, but was better as a receiver out of the backfield and showed improvement as a pass-blocker when called upon this season. Howard’s best work came down the stretch as he rushed 88 times for 399 yards and scored four touchdowns in the final five games of the regular season. That late-season push culminated with a 109-yard showing against the Vikings in a game that eliminated them from the postseason and earned Howard FedEx’s Ground Player of the Week honors.
And with that, the Bears’ running back situation becomes a bit clearer … kinda. Hopes are high for Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis, but Howard’s departure leaves the Bears running backs room searching for another solution to round out the room.