Bears Playmaker ‘Likely to Be Traded’ During Draft

Ryan Poles

Getty General Manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus of the Chicago Bears.

If the Chicago Bears were to trade a player in the 2024 NFL draft, running back Khalil Herbert is a likely contender.

A sixth-round pick for the Bears in 2021, Herbert has been with the Chicago Bears for three seasons, but was drafted by the team’s former general manager, Ryan Pace. Herbert has played under Chicago’s current GM, Ryan Poles, for the last two seasons, but with the running back looking for a new contract after Year 4, it would be a savvy move from Poles to get something in exchange for Herbert now.

Alex Kay of Bleacher Report listed five players “likely to be traded” during the draft, and Herbert topped his list.

“The Chicago Bears have a logjam in their backfield. It appeared that the team would go into the 2024 campaign with the tandem of Khalil Herbert and Roschon Johnson serving as its top running backs, but the free-agency pickup of D’Andre Swift muddied the waters,” Kay wrote, before noting what he believed the Bears could get in return for Herbert.

Bears Predicted to Get Day 3 Pick if They Trade RB Khalil Herbert

Chicago signed former Philadelphia Eagles running back D’Andre Swift to a three-year deal worth $24 million this offseason, making him the team’s unquestioned RB1 heading into the 2024 season.

Johnson, a 2023 fourth-round selection by the Poles regime, showed promise in limited opportunities as a rookie last year.

“Rather than try to sort out a pecking order involving all three, the Bears could bring clarity to this situation by trading one of their incumbent running backs. Since Johnson just joined the team as a fourth-round pick last year and has barely scratched the surface of his potential, moving on from Herbert makes the most sense,” Kay wrote.

Considering Herbert’s affordable contract, there will likely be other teams interested in adding a playmaker of his talents. Herbert is in the final year of his four-year rookie contract, and is set to earn just over $1 million next season.

“There could be some strong trade interest for Herbert. He has proved to be an elusive rusher, averaging nearly five yards per carry over his first 42 career games. While he doesn’t offer much as a pass-catcher, he could still provide a strong return on investment for what would likely be a meager Day 3 pick in exchange,” Kay noted. “It may not be a great haul for the Bears, but that pick could help the rebuilding team far more than a one-dimensional depth option in their backfield.”

Bears Backfield Should Be a Strength Heading Into 2024 Season

Even if the Bears trade Herbert, they should have a strong one-two punch in Swift and Johnson.

Swift, 25, is coming off a career year with the Eagles that saw him rush for 1,049 yards and five touchdowns. Like Herbert, Swift is 5’9″. Both backs are small-yet-speedy. The 6-foot, 220-pound Johnson, who averaged 4.3 yards per carry last year, will serve as Chicago’s short yardage back.

If Chicago decides to keep Herbert, it will have a ridiculously loaded backfield. Over his three seasons with the Bears, Herbert has played in 42 games (12 starts). His best season came in 2022, when he had 129 carries for 731 yards (5.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.

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