Bears running back David Montgomery tallied 136 scrimmage yards against the Packers on Sunday Night Football, with 122 rushing yards on 15 carries making up a heavy chunk of the yardage.
That performance has Montgomery’s stock on the rise entering Week 3, which is good news for the Bears in all sorts of ways.
But before we dive into that stuff, let’s enjoy a one of the most memorable moments from Sunday’s game. And from a different point of view:
Former Bears safety Adrian Amos whiffs early in the clip above. And later, Montgomery puts Amos’ fellow safety on roller-skates with a beautiful cutback move.
Say what you want about Amos since his departure, but he has been more than solid as a Green Bay defender — even earning first-team All-Pro honors from Pro Football Focus. Darnell Savage is an ace defensive back, too. The 2019 first-round pick made the NFL’s All-Rookie team and has eight interceptions in his first three seasons. As a tandem, that’s as good as it gets in the NFL. And the Bears’ leading rusher gave them the business in primetime.
These were some other nice runs against Green Bay:
All of that was vintage Monty. Elusiveness. Vision. Playmaking. Tackle-breaking. Hard-nosed football. The type of stuff you want out of your RB1. And not only did he get it done in a bounce-back game after a rough home opener, Montgomery was putting in that work on a rival in their stadium. You must respect that.
Also? I have to confess that I got so caught up in Justin Fields miraculously getting this ball away that I overlooked Montgomery’s excellence in eluding would-be tacklers:
Obviously, this is all good news for the Bears.
Montgomery pulling his weight in the ground game should open up things for the Bears’ aerial assault. Assuming, of course, Luke Getsy is willing to open up the playbook to allow Fields to throw it more than 11 times in the future.
In addition, Montgomery’s bounce back could fuel future trade talk. Hey, now! Don’t give me that look. You know darn well that any potential buyers in the running back market, who saw the Bears lose in the manner that they did on Sunday, started circling Montgomery’s name for consideration ahead of the NFL’s trade deadline on Nov. 1.
Granted, the deadline is still two months away. But that just gives us an opportunity to get ahead of the chatter. And if the Bears — who fell to 1-1 (and started looking like the team many were projecting to finish among the NFL’s worst) — want to shop him, that footage against the Packers is stuff this front office will want to share.
On the other hand, the powers that be at Halas Hall could see this as the first piece evidence that could lead to a Montgomery extension.
Back in August, there were reports that the Bears might be waiting out a Montgomery extension. And it made sense — figuring out Montgomery’s role in the offense and waiting to see if he could level up feels like a reasonable approach ahead of any potential extension. Get some snaps in the new system, see if he excels, and if he does, perhaps broach the topic. If not, then play out the string and re-assess the situation after the year ends.
Don’t forget, Montgomery is a team leader.
Considering the tough times that could lie ahead for this team, we shouldn’t underestimate the value of locker room leadership. When your team’s best players are your hardest workers, it tends to trickle down.
We should also keep in mind what a Montgomery extension could mean in terms of the bigger picture. For instance, a Montgomery extension could be good for the optics. From a team perspective, it would show that the new regime has an open mind to players it inherits from the prior front office. It would also be the first bit of evidence that the Bears are willing to reward their own home-grown talent. And from a player perspective, extending Montgomery could signal to others that he is on board with what the team is doing in its rebuild. Montgomery already has the respect of his peers, given that he made the player-voted NFL’s top 100 list. An extension could help tell perspective free agents that Chicago is a place on the rise.
Don’t get me wrong. I realize that running back extensions aren’t popular among today’s football thinkers. But it shouldn’t be as narrow-minded as “never pay RBs.” And while modern problems require modern solutions, and the running game is the antithesis of what new-age offenses are doing. And yet, here I am feeling as if there is a feasible extension that could work for Montgomery and the Bears. For example, I can’t help but look at Leonard Fournette’s latest deal with the Bucs as a possible framework for a future deal. Three years with an annual average value of $7-8 million per isn’t some type of cap-space busting contract.
In the end, I just wanted to put the possibilities of a Monty extension or trade on our radars. To be clear, nothing is imminent. And Montgomery has said himself that working out an extension isn’t top of mind going into the season. However, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be on our heads.