The Chicago Bears are investing in one of the breakout players of 2022 to replenish their backfield in the wake of David Montgomery’s departure.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bears have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3 million contract with former Carolina Panthers running back D’Onta Foreman, who took off after Christian McCaffrey was traded in 2022 and finished the season with career-highs in rushing attempts (203), rushing yards (914) and touchdowns (five).
Foreman provides the Bears with an adequate replacement for Montgomery — who signed a three-year deal with the Detroit Lions — as well as an ideal power-rushing complement for the smaller, quicker Khalil Herbert in their backfield. The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Foreman is also an extremely good value for Chicago after other backs on the market signed longer-term deals with higher annual value.
The Bears have now signed two running backs in the first two days of official 2023 free agency after former Seattle Seahawks backup and special teams asset Travis Homer inked a two-year deal worth up to $4.5 million with Chicago earlier this week. They now have four halfbacks under contract — counting 2022 sixth-rounder Trestan Ebner — for the 2023 season along with recently-extended fullback Khari Blasingame.
Bears Gain Rising Complementary Rusher for 2023
Foreman has been a late bloomer at the NFL level. After initially being a 2017 third-round pick for the Houston Texans, he rushed just 107 times for 421 yards and two touchdowns over his first four seasons in the league and only just began to hit his stride in the late parts of the 2021 season when he was with the Tennessee Titans.
Fortunately, though, he makes for an ideal complement for Herbert as the Bears look to see whether the latter can continue his rise when given full-time starting duties. Despite Montgomery posting the most rushing yards (801) among Bears running backs in 2022, Herbert finished close behind him (731) despite 72 fewer rushing attempts. His average of 5.7 yards per carry ranked ninth-best among all running backs who had at least one touch last season and fourth-best among those who played at 20% of team snaps.
Certainly, Herbert has the chance to do even more damage if given a heavier workload, and now the Bears have a power rusher stashed next to him who can balance things out and attack opposing defenses in ways that Herbert (5-foot-9, 212 pounds) cannot.
D’Onta Foreman Signing Likely Means No RB Trades
The Bears won’t have to worry about the cost of Foreman if he doesn’t end up working out the way they envision in 2023, but his signing does suggest that any hopes of a potential blockbuster trade for one of the top running backs on the market — Austin Ekeler in Los Angeles or Derrick Henry in Tennessee — is now dead and gone.
The Bears have now made two investments in their running back room with Foreman being a much bigger acquisition than Homer in terms of potential production. If they were to pursue Ekeler or Henry in a trade, or even try to sign someone like former Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott, it would create too crowded of a room for common sense. In all likelihood, Foreman’s arrival signals the Bears are content to see what he and Herbert can bring to their backfield as complementary pieces in 2023 and address the problem at a later date if neither of them work out next season.