There was a time when you could’ve talked me into the inevitability of an extension for David Montgomery.
In fact, in early March, it was a “strong possibility” that an extension could be coming this offseason. There was even financial framework for a deal ($10-12M AAV) that was thrown around for discussion. But there hasn’t been much chatter surrounding a Montgomery extension since then. And I suppose that is with good reason. Because since that conversation took off, the Bears have been busy working on the fringes:
• And put in an offer sheet that offensive lineman Ryan Bates plans on signing.
• Oh, and they traded Khalil Mack — which is hardly a fringe move. Nevertheless, it is a notable transaction to consider here.
Again, the major moves haven’t been there, but the minor ones have been plenty to this point. This isn’t to say a Montgomery extension wasn’t a priority, but there has been a bunch of movement that has put aside talks about a new deal for their top rusher.
But maybe that will soon change, now that Leonard Fournette is getting a a new multi-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Here are the contract details from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport:
Sources: The #Bucs are re-signing RB Leonard Fournette, as more of Tom Brady’s friends return to Tampa. He gets a 3-year deal worth $21M up to $24M.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 22, 2022
A three-year, $24 million deal is a modest one for a running back, particularly for key piece in that offense, like Fournette. And it has me thinking (once again) about a potential David Montgomery extension.
To be clear, Montgomery and Fournette are different types of players. Additionally, both are at different points of their careers with organizations at different spots along the competitive cycle. But this being Fournette’s first big contract after his rookie deal gives us some runway to talk shop regarding a Montgomery extension.
After all, Montgomery could find himself as a key piece in Chicago’s offense. And with his rookie deal expiring at the end of this season, Montgomery will be looking for a first big contract, of his own. Perhaps this Fournette deal provides us with some parameters. Because while Montgomery isn’t in the Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, Dalvin Cook range of running backs who make north of $12 million per year, he isn’t on that Chase Edmonds ($6.05M AAV) or Rashaad Penny ($5.75M) grouping either. Maybe that $7-8 million AAV range Fournette occupies could satisfy both sides.
Even still … I’d contest the Bears still have bigger fish to fry than extending a running back. There are still holes to plug on the offensive line, at multiple receiver spots, in the secondary, and elsewhere. Chicago won’t be able to fill out its roster with its six draft picks and copious undrafted free agents to be named later. So expect a dozen or more free agent signings to help build toward the 90-player spring/summer roster limit. We’ll re-visit Montgomery talks if something else pops up later. But I didn’t want to have it totally lost in the shuffle when another RB’s deal makes some noise.