The Chicago Bears have more than two dozen players set to become free agents once the 2023 league year opens, but none of them have made ESPN's recent top 50 list of available players. Chicago's one higher profile pending free agent, running back David Montgomery, has been a solid football player during his four years with the Bears, but he's apparently not moving the needle league-wide.
Montgomery is going to get a solid paycheck to tote the rock for some team in 2023, and a return to Chicago is not out of the question, but ESPN has the New York Giants' Saquon Barkley at 8, the Las Vegas Raiders' Josh Jacobs at 17, the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Pollard at 19, and Miles Sanders of the Philadelphia Eagles at 43 all ahead of Montgomery.
Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus doubled up what ESPN did by issuing a Top 100 Free Agent List, and he had Montgomery checking in at 75 overall, which was the only Bear that made the cut.
Here's what Brad had to say.
Contract Projection: Three years, $19.5 million ($6.5M per year); $12.25 million total guaranteed
Montgomery is a reliable three-down back who is as tough as any player in the NFL, returning to the lineup from injury faster than expected several times over his career and never showing signs of weakness. Beyond rushing and receiving, Montgomery is also a reliable pass protector.
As a playmaker, the former third-rounder can routinely shake off tacklers and make defenders miss in a phone booth, with his 185 missed tackles forced over the past four seasons the fifth most in the NFL. His biggest knock is his lack of top-end speed to break off big gains, as he has recorded just 21 rushes of 15-plus yards (tied 39th) on 915 carries (sixth).
If Brad's projection is money, and he's usually very close on these, then I could see the Bears re-signing Montgomery at that price.
The ESPN article is behind a paywall, but the PFF list reads like a shopping list got general manager Ryan Poles and the near $100 million he has to spend.
I'm sure we'll revisit the list at some point, but who are some of your favorite pending free agents?