First-year Bears GM Ryan Poles isn’t shy when it comes to pulling off trades. And with the NFL’s Trade Deadline coming tomorrow, there could be some more movement on the horizon. Trading Khalil Mack in the offseason, making a handful of deals on the final day of the 2022 NFL Draft, and then moving both Robert Quinn *AND* Roquan Smith has us on high alert for anything and everything.
My gut tells me that anything that isn’t bolted down at Halas Hall could be sent packing in a trade. Based on the movement we’ve already seen from Poles, part of my brain believes that running back David Montgomery could be a player on the move. But based on what Montgomery brings to the table, I’m not so sure.
For what it’s worth, there is chatter:
On the one hand, it is possible what Da Bears Blog’s Jeff Hughes hears about multiple teams having an interest in trading for Montgomery is on point. Firstly, Jeff is an old head in terms of being on Bears rumors. He hears things, then shares them. So Jeff has our attention when he tweets nuggets and tidbits. You gotta respect your elders in the Bears blogosphere.
But we also know there are teams who missed out on the Christian McCaffrey sweepstakes. For instance, the Bills and Rams are plausible trade targets who could have eyes for Monty. We also know that the Rams have been actively working the phones ahead of the trade deadline. Plus it doesn’t sound like the Bears are done cutting deals, it is easy to make that connection. And since the running backs room looks to be a position of strength, it doesn’t take much to make the leap and see a trade coming.
But on the other hand, the Bears should consider what Montgomery means for this team. Not necessarily for the short-term in terms of winning games. But instead, when it comes to keeping the arrow pointing up in Justin Fields’ development. And it has nothing to do with Montgomery’s hard-nosed running style or ability to fall forward and get tough yards.
Check out these stats:
The sample isn’t large, but the numbers stand out. Montgomery’s presence in the passing game dwarfs what Herbert brings to the table in that area. As Johnathan Wood tweets above, we had an idea Herbert wasn’t on Montgomery’s level in the passing game. The eye test has shown us that in these snaps we’ve had to evaluate. Additionally, Pro Football Focus’ data concurs. Montgomery’s 52.3 pass-blocking grade is better than Herbert’s 46.0 grade. Meanwhile, Herbert’s 61.4 receiving grade falls short of Montgomery’s 62.7 grade. It isn’t as wide of a margin by PFF’s grading standards. But considering all the data available suggests that it isn’t an inconsequential margin. So much so, it helps make an argument that doing right by Fields’ development would mean holding onto Montgomery through this trade deadline. Yes, even if it costs the Bears the chance at adding another draft pick to their treasure chest.
Finally, we shouldn’t overlook his team-first attitude and leadership skills. There is a human element factor to all of this, which is something Poles said he took into consideration before making the Quinn deal. The Bears have already dealt two captains. Would a trade of a defacto captain make sense? I’m not so sure. That Montgomery is such a help to a passing offense that needs as much of it as possible makes me think trading him isn’t as likely as we might otherwise think. But stay tuned. The surprises could still be coming.