Bears Must Trade David Montgomery During Offseason

In an effort to convince the great people of Chicago to put down their pitchforks, I will begin by saying this: David Montgomery is arguably the most beloved Bear in the Windy City, and for good reason. He is a great running back with even greater character and embodies the tough and relentless nature of the city. That, in and of itself, makes him a seamless fit in just about any organization and will serve as legitimate support in his quest for a "break the bank"-type contract. It is also for that reason, however, that such a contract should not be with the Chicago Bears.

First and foremost, running backs that generate high value inherently do so for reasons that are purely circumstantial. It takes a rare combination of injury luck and lack of depreciation to produce at the level that Montgomery has over the past few seasons. However, this type of luck usually regresses to the mean in the long run, resulting in high value deals for players that lack the corresponding production (if they are even on the field, that is).

But that’s not all. Montgomery’s skill set — though valuable — simply doesn’t cut it in this day and age. He is a sledgehammer-type back capable of getting 2–3 yards when nothing is there. That certainly has value. But far too often, there are yards left on the field due to his glaring lack of explosiveness. Per his Iowa State Pro Day, he runs a 4.63 40-time, and, frankly speaking, plays slower than that in games, resulting in should-be big plays going for less than what most average backs would get. Given the lack of explosive capability on the Bears’ current roster, this cannot be the case. The offense is in dire need of somebody that can turn a short run into a house call to take advantage of the few times in which the offensive line creates a large hole. Montgomery isn’t capable of doing that.

Speaking of the line, running back performance in the short and intermediate areas of the field has such high dependence on the others. If a team lacks deep threats, a strong offensive line, and a quarterback capable of stretching the field, back performance is significantly restricted regardless of their individual talents. Conversely, if a team is riddled with deep threats, has a phenomenal run-blocking offensive line, and has a quarterback that puts constant pressure on a defense, then back performance will almost assuredly be exceptional. As of today, the Bears qualify as the former. Could that change over the next few seasons? Absolutely, especially if Justin Fields develops into the quarterback many think he will be. But as of right now, the best approach is to have a guy capable of consistently maximizing the opportunity, especially in the deep-running game.

Contrary to conventional thought, that guy may already be on the roster. In the few snaps he played, Khalil Herbert was exceptional. He displayed the ability to emulate Montgomery’s sledgehammer ability while maintaining home run capabilities with his 4.46 speed. Those tools translated to in-game performance. In just 103 rush attempts, Herbert generated 433 yards, giving him an average of 4.2 yards per carry. Compare that to Montgomery’s 3.8 yards per carry, and it is clear that Herbert’s decisiveness and big-play capabilities make him a viable solution to the Bears’ short-term running back issues.

Regardless, this will likely be the first critical roster-oriented decision we see from the new regime. In a perfect world, it will serve as the initial signal as to the Bears future. That future — unlike with other regimes — has a chance to be one of prosperity.

This Fanpost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.