Jordan Howard - Signed through 2019 - In his outstanding rookie season, Howard had 66% of the Bears’ rushing attempts while playing 65% of the teams offensive snaps. Had the Bears realized what they had in him, that number may have been higher. He didn’t play week 1, he only had 12 carries the next two weeks and it wasn’t until Jeremy Langford went down that Howard saw more work.
Then again, if one of the other backs on the roster would have stepped up and averaged more than 3.9 yards per carry, maybe Howard’s playing time would have been a little lower. The Bears gave Howard a couple series’ off each game, but the offense wasn’t the same with him on the bench.
Even though Howard is clearly the top runner on the roster, identifying a capable #2 will be key for the offense next year.
Jeremy Langford - Signed through 2018 - Langford lost time because of a high ankle sprain last year, so maybe he gets a mulligan on the decrease in production. He’ll be in camp and have a chance to prove he deserves to be a part of the offense moving forward.
But he’ll have to battle it out with this guy...
Ka’Deem Carey - Signed through 2017 - Even though Carey saw a decrease in offensive production, his playing time on both offense and special teams increased from 2015 to 2016. Carey and Langford may be fighting it out for one job next year.
Paul Lasike - Signed through 2017 - I’ll get this out of the way right now, I’m a fan of the fullback position. Give me a bruising up-back paving the way for a tailback lined up in an I-Formation and I’m happy. Lasike hasn’t shown the ability to be that guy in his brief time on the Bears.
He’s a very good athlete and he has good size at 258 pounds, so we’ll have to see what happens once camp opens next year.
Bralon Addison - Exclusive rights free agent - I wouldn’t be surprised to see Addison return to fight it out for a back up role. He was a college receiver and he had experience in the return game.
David Cobb - Signed a reserve/futures contract - Cobb was a 5th round pick of the Titans in 2015 and he appeared in 7 games as a rookie totaling 146 yards. He’s 5’11”, 228 pounds and the scouting report on him coming out of Minnesota was as a no-frills, downhill runner.
2017 OUTLOOK - Howard will start the year as “The Man” this offseason, but the Bears will need to address his back up. It may be a healthy and motivated Langford or Carey, it could be the young and hungry Addison or Cobb. I also would not be surprised if they brought in some more competition, whether via a draft pick, a young free agent or an undrafted free agent.
Who do you guys think will emerge as Howard’s primary backup in 2017? One of the guys on the current roster or will they go get another guy?