Bears Fan Favorite Likely in His Final Year With Team

David Montgomery

Getty David Montgomery of the Chicago Bears takes part in a drill during training camp at the PNC Center at Halas Hall on August 02, 2022 in Lake Forest, Illinois.

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery didn’t play in the team’s August 13 preseason opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, sitting out with an undisclosed injury.

While the injury appears minor and isn’t expected to keep Montgomery out of any regular season games, it would benefit the fourth-year rusher to utilize every opportunity possible to impress the team’s new regime led by general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus.

A third-round selection for the Bears in 2019, Montgomery is entering a contract year and there has been nary a whisper of an extension. He has been a workhorse for Chicago over his first three seasons, amassing 2,808 yards and 21 touchdowns on 714 carries in 44 games (35 starts), but after visiting the team’s training camp on Saturday, July 30, one top NFL insider thinks Montgomery’s work may be cut out for him when it comes to getting extended.

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‘Alarm Bells’ Sounding Around Montgomery, Insider Says

ESPN insider Dan Graziano visited the Bears’ camp in Lake Forest, Illinois a few weeks before their first preseason game, and he came away feeling as though Montgomery will really have to impress the new regime if he wants to stick around beyond the 2022 season.

The running back’s recent work on special teams, as reported by Kevin Fishbain and Adam Jahns of The Athletic, is bit of an eyebrow-raiser, Graziano says.

“Montgomery is a really good player, but it says something that the team hasn’t yet made a move to give him a contract extension heading into his fourth season,” Graziano wrote on August 9. “And all of the ‘feel-good’ stories about him playing special teams in camp are a bit of an alarm bell to me. If he’s the starting running back and the long-term answer at the position, would Chicago really playing him on special teams in camp?”

Graziano added it’s possible the fourth-year running back impresses enough to stick around, but also noted the competition will be stiff for him in the RBs room this year.

“My sense is the Bears want to see Montgomery in the new offense before committing to him, and hey, maybe he clicks,” Graziano wrote. “But Khalil Herbert and even rookie sixth-round pick Trestan Ebner could be threats to any potential lead role for Montgomery.”

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Ebner Had Memorable NFL Debut vs Kansas City

Montgomery started his 2021 season strong, with two 100-yard games in his first four contests. He suffered a left knee sprain during the Bears’ Week 4 win over the Detroit Lions, and it forced him to miss four games. He slowed down a bit after the injury and finished with 225 carries for 849 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns to go with 42 catches for 301 receiving yards on the season.

In his absence, 2021 rookie Herbert stepped up, rushing for 344 yards on 78 carries (4.4 yards per carry) and a touchdown through a four-game stretch.

Herbert didn’t have a memorable game against Kansas City, but Ebner made a mark in his NFL debut, finishing as the team’s leading rusher with six carries for 31 yards (5.2 yards per carry), also scoring the Bears’ first touchdown of the game on a nifty 12-yard reception:

Herbert and Ebner are both faster than Montgomery, and Ebner is the only one of the three selected by the current staff, so it seems as though Monty may have his work cut out for him when it comes to getting a new contract in the Windy City.

Spotrac has Montgomery’s market value estimated at around $13 million a year, and it’s unlikely Poles will pay that much for a running back considering the team’s needs at linebacker (Roquan Smith is not yet paid), wide receiver and offensive line. Thus, it’s looking more and more like 2022 could be the final year for the fan favorite RB in a Bears uniform.

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Adam Kolthoff
Adam Kolthoff
3 months ago

They always draft well with running backs but they never stay long-term. It would be risky to keep drafting new RB every 3-5 years. Next one might not be anywhere as good.

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