All the contract discussions lately center on Roquan Smith. The Chicago Bears are trying their best to juggle the demands of their star linebacker. He sure isn’t making it easy with his erratic behavior, including a trade demand and now rumors of a non-NFLPA-certified “representative” contacting teams about possible interest. That is against the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Just one mess after another. Smith’s saga makes it easy to forget he isn’t the only one looking for a new deal. So is David Montgomery.
Unlike his teammate, the running back hasn’t made a peep on the subject the entire off-season. When asked about it, he’s demurred, stating those things will work themselves out. Another reminder of the team-first guy he is. Montgomery feels if he continues playing well, the money will be there. That is an excellent mindset to have. The question is whether the Bears are already working on a possible deal. That is where it gets complicated. ESPN insider Dan Graziano provided an interesting update.
“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. 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?
My sense is the Bears want to see Montgomery in the new offense before committing to him, and hey, maybe he clicks. But Khalil Herbert and even rookie sixth-round pick Trestan Ebner could be threats to any potential lead role for Montgomery.”
This is a tough situation for David Montgomery.
He is one of those players who benefits the least from a new regime. While head coach Matt Eberflus sang his praises a few weeks ago, the reality is GM Ryan Poles didn’t draft the running back. Luke Getsy is bringing in a new offense, the outside-zone. Such a scheme requires a runner to have good vision, strong cutting ability, and burst. Nobody would say that is the strength of Montgomery’s game.
He is more of a classic inside guy. Run him between the tackles and grind defenders down with his strength and contact balance. That doesn’t mean he can’t be successful in this offense. David Montgomery is more than talented enough to adjust. His work ethic is ridiculous. Still, it feels like the margin for error is slim with him. If he gets off to a slow start in 2022, the Bears may shift to Khalil Herbert, who is a more natural fit in the scheme.
Paying running backs big money isn’t a favored strategy these days. Montgomery needs a big year to buck that trend.