Bears May Be Looking to Sign a "Mid-Level Veteran" RB - Here Are Some Options

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Bears May Be Looking to Sign a “Mid-Level Veteran” RB – Here Are Some Options

Chicago Bears

Changes could be coming to the Chicago Bears’ backfield.

And no, none of them appear to involve Saquon Barkley. Or any other running back who was given the Franchise Tag before Tuesday’s deadline.

This nugget Matthew Berry shared from the Combine was a head-turner (bold emphasis mine):

“In 15 days I think David Montgomery is no longer a Bear.” The source told me it’s not a done deal because Montgomery could still return to Chicago it he’s willing to take a team-friendly contract (but who knows what is in Montgomery’s mind and what kind of market will be out there for him). However, if you have to place a bet, odds say that the Bears move on next year with Khalil Herbert in the lead role, while seeing if they can get anything out of Trestan Ebner. Chicago may also sign a veteran.

….My take is that, assuming Monty leaves and there’s no real competition for Herbert (Ebner and a mid-level veteran), Herbert will be a fantasy star in a run-centric Justin Fields led offense next season.

A source predicting David Montgomery’s time is coming to a close is bold. As is the notion that Khalil Herbert is in line to take RB1 duties. But that third tidbit — the one about the Bears possibly signing a veteran running back — is the doozy on which I want to focus today. Especially since Berry attaches the descriptor of “mid-level” in front of veteran. That feels awfully specific.

As for who might fit the bill, I have some ideas.

  • Jamaal Williams checks some boxes as a fit. Williams has familiarity with what this scheme could (should?) be having spent time with Bears OC Luke Getsy while both were in Green Bay in 2017, then from 2019-21.
  • Jerick McKinnon makes sense if the Bears have eyes for a pass-catcher out of the backfield.
  • Raheem Mostert might be another sensible option who has experience in that vet role.
  • Alexander Mattison already has experience as that back who can contribute despite being RB2 on the depth chart.

A veteran addition would have the Bears’ backfield looking different in 2023. Think about what the Packers have with Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon. Or a backfield that resembles the Mostert-Jeff Wilson tandem the Dolphins deploy. A tag team backfield might be in the works for the Bears. Hey, anything that keeps Justin Fields from running too much for our comfort level is a good thing.

Let me be clear. Filling this potential spot isn’t a priority. But it is encouraging that it remains easy to find a handful of possible RB fits at the drop of a hat. Although, moving away from Montgomery will sting a little. If this is the end of the line for Montgomery, part of me will let out a heavy sigh. I’ve been enjoying Monty’s work since he came on the scene as a rookie. However, new possibilities on the horizon intrigue me, too. I can look ahead while also wishing Montgomery well in his future endeavors. Right?

Montgomery was deserving of better than what he got in Chicago. With his hard-nosed style and tackle-breaking ability, Montgomery deserved a shot at being a high-volume ball carrier. Instead, Matt Nagy didn’t properly use Montgomery. Nagy’s insistence on straight dropbacks when his running back was his best and most efficient offensive player will always confuse me. Then, after Nagy leaves, Montgomery gets just 201 carries in a year when Bears ball carriers had 558. Go figure.

Hey, don’t shut that door just yet. There is still hope for a Monty reunion. Berry still offers a caveat that there is still a path to a return. And there is reportedly mutual interest in a reunion from both the team and player can’t hurt. But Berry’s source comes off strongly with that prediction. And that is worth keeping in the back of your mind.

In the end, a change of the guard could be coming soon. Change always comes and the world keeps spinning. At least, that is what I’m told. A new pecking order of Herbert, (a non-inconsequential gap), a veteran back, (another gap), Ebner (but also, maybe a Day 3 pick or UDFA who challenges him?). And that would be a fine running backs room. It could still use a bit more firepower, but it is possible giving Herbert more carries could lead to a few more explosive runs. Just saying.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.