Bears Trade Proposal Swaps Former Starter for Cowboys’ Pick

Khalil Herbert Trade Chicago Bears News 2024 NFL Draft Cowboys

Getty Bears running back Khalil Herbert.

The Chicago Bears are down to just four total selections in the 2024 NFL draft, but they might have a way of acquiring at least one additional pick if they are willing to explore the trade market for dual-threat running back Khalil Herbert.

Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton recently proposed trade targets for several of the league’s expected 2024 contenders and suggested the Dallas Cowboys call the Bears about Herbert’s availability as they search for a new starter for next year’s backfield.

The Cowboys lost starter Tony Pollard to the Tennessee Titans in 2024 free agency following Pollard’s second consecutive 1,000-yard rushing season. They also did not sign any free agents to help compensate for the loss, leaving them with Rico Dowdle (385 career rushing yards) and Deuce Vaughn (40 yards) as their top remaining backs.

The Bears, on the other hand, signed former Philadelphia Eagles running back D’Andre Swift to a three-year, $24 million contract that indicates he will be their new lead back. They also return 2023 fourth-round pick Roschon Johnson and veteran Travis Homer, which could make Herbert somewhat expendable heading into the final year of his deal.

“In three seasons, the 25-year-old has recorded 364 carries for 1,775 yards and eight touchdowns,” Moton wrote on March 29. “He’s also caught 43 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns. … With new offensive coordinator Shane Waldron in place, Herbert, who has one year left on his deal, could be the odd man out [during the 2024 season].

“Dallas should offer a late-round pick to Chicago for the Virginia Tech product, who could be a featured ball-career.”

Does Khalil Herbert Fit Into Bears’ Plans for Backfield?

Herbert finds himself in a strange place with the Bears heading into the 2024 season.

The 2021 sixth-round pick received a promotion to lead back in 2023 following the departure of David Montgomery in free agency. For the most part, he handled those responsibilities well, too, until he injured his ankle in Week 5 and missed the next four games. While Herbert took a few more games to return to full strength, he closed out the regular season with two 100-yard performances in the Bears’ final three games.

The Bears, however, decided they wanted a more substantial talent for their backfield in 2024 and moved quickly in free agency to secure Swift on a long-term deal. Head coach Matt Eberflus made it clear they intend to feature Swift in 2024, calling him a “home-run hitter” when talking about the signing at last week’s annual league meetings.

Now, Swift’s arrival does not necessarily eliminate Herbert’s usefulness. He could easily slip back into the No. 2 role and offer the Bears a dynamic one-two punch for Waldron’s new offensive system. But the Bears must also still figure out a proper role for Johnson, whom Chicago’s front office was thrilled to land in the 2023 draft.

Johnson saw limited action as a rookie but showed promise, averaging 4.3 yards on 81 carries and scoring his first two career touchdowns. He also caught 34 of his 40 targets for 209 yards, making him a more formidable pass-catching option than Herbert — who has just 43 total receptions over the past three seasons. Are the Bears content to let him play the No. 3 role for another season while waiting for Herbert’s contract to expire?

Khalil Herbert Trade With Cowboys Could Be Win-Win

The Bears might prefer to play out the 2024 season before deciding what to do about Herbert and his expiring contract. While he is a draft pick of the previous regime, the 25-year-old has run fairly well during the first two seasons under general manager Ryan Poles and offers a promising second option for their rushing attack alongside Swift.

If the Bears want to feature Johnson more or already feel that Herbert does not fit into their long-term plans, though, they could be amenable to the right trade offer for him.

A potential Herbert trade between the Bears and Cowboys could work out for everyone involved. The Bears are unlikely to return a quality compensatory pick for Herbert if he signs elsewhere in 2025 free agency, so getting something now instead of nothing later would make sense if they feel that Johnson is ready to play the No. 2 role to Swift.

Herbert may also like having a fresh opportunity to earn a starting job with the playoff-contending Cowboys. While Dallas could look to add another running back in the draft, he has a clear path to the No. 1 job as things currently stand and might find himself on the track to a breakout season if they lean into him being their lead ball carrier in 2024.

The question here is less about fit and more about compensation. The Bears might not be willing to subtract Herbert from their offense for less than a sixth-round pick, but the Cowboys’ fifth-rounder (No. 174 overall) could potentially get the deal done.

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