David Montgomery’s last rushing attempt in his Bears career looked familiar to a lot of the runs he experienced in his four years in Chicago. Multiple defenders were in the back field before Montgomery could reach the line of scrimmage and the play resulted in a 2-yard loss.
That run in the 29-13 loss to the Vikings in Week 18 last season was the last time Montgomery would wear a Bears uniform. According to Adam Schefter, the Lions reached an agreement with Montgomery on a three-year, $18 million deal.
So, if healthy, Montgomery will be back at Soldier Field — only this time he will be looking to make those potential negative runs turn into positive ones like he did so many times in his 60 career games with the Bears. In four seasons, Montgomery finished with 3,609 rushing yards, 30 total touchdowns (26 rushing and 4 receiving) and 1,204 receiving yards.
Now with Montgomery going from Chicago to Detroit, the Bears will have to look for another running back to help fill the void left at the position. Minutes after the Montgomery news, Schefter also reported the Bears and former Seahawks running back Travis Homer have agreed to a two-year deal “worth a maximum of $4.5 million.”
So as it stands today, the Bears have Khalil Herbert, Trestan Ebner and Homer as their running backs. Also, the team re-signed fullback Khari Blasingame, who did help create rushing lanes when he was on the field.
Herbert, for now, will be the starter. Last season, the former sixth-round pick out of Virginia Teach finished with career highs in several categories: 129 attempts, 731 rushing yards, 5.7 yards per rush attempt (fifth-best in the NFL), 29 forced missed tackles and four rushing touchdowns.
Herbert has showed, despite a small sample size, that he can run the ball effectively. However, it’s in the passing game where he needs to improve. Last season, he had nine receptions for 57 yards and one touchdown. According to Pro Football Focus, he finished with a 54.4 pass blocking grade — which took a dip from his rookie season (61.5).
As for Ebner, the rookie sixth-round pick out of Baylor didn’t see much playing time and didn’t look quite ready to step into a bigger role on the offense. Darrynton Evans received more playing time than Ebner during Weeks 12-14 for a reason.
Even though the Homer news came out fairly quickly after Montgomery’s, he should be viewed as depth at the position and someone who can contribute on special teams. He played 130 special teams snaps for the Seahawks, which was good for 27.9%.
The Bears led the league in rushing last season with 3,014 yards, average (5.4) and rushing attempts (558). Ideally, though, Justin Fields won’t be contributing 160 attempts for 1,143 yards in 2023.
So, general manager Ryan Poles will have to look to the upcoming draft to help find another playmaker to have the rushing attack remain a threat to opposing defenses.