Monday, January 24, 2022

David Montgomery Makes It Clear He Wants To Stay In Chicago


David Montgomery has emerged as the best all-around player on the Chicago Bears offense and one of the top 10 running backs in the NFL. Tough and relentless, he is the engine that makes everything go. However, a critical juncture of his career is coming up. The 2022 season will be the last of his rookie contract. That means the Bears will have a decision to make about whether to retain him or let him hit free agency.

Complicating matters even further are the looming changes expected to the Bears power structure. There is a good possibility that both head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace, the two men that drafted Montgomery, will be fired. Everybody knows that when regimes change, few players on the roster can consider themselves safe. There is a possibility the next guys in charge won’t be wild about paying a running back.

Montgomery himself hopes that isn’t the case.

He was a guest for Jeff Joniak and Tom Thayer on Bears All-Access this week where they talked about his career and what is to come. Thayer asked him about his mic’d up moments during the season. It became clear that Montgomery is quite a character on the field. Equal parts serious and entertaining. The 24-year old admitted that sometimes he forgets he’s wired but is happy people get to see that side of him. How much he loves playing in Chicago.

“Each time I’ve been mic’d up, I’ve definitely forgot that I’m mic’d up. But each time it happens, it’s a surreal moment to understand that this is the raw, uncut, genuine David Montgomery. Being able to showcase that…because most fans say they don’t much about me. They always know that I’m serious. Yeah, I’m pretty serious but at the same time I have fun. I understand what needs to be done. I’m just a hard worker. I want to come to work every day and just help as much as I can so I can be a Bear for the rest of my career.”

That wasn’t the end of it. Not long after Thayer talked to Montgomery about his hopes and aspirations for the future. True to form, his focus was on being the best teammate possible. To do whatever it takes to help the team win. Oh and, once again, to finish his career in a Bears uniform.

“To be available as much as I can and as best as I can for my teammates and be reliable. While I’m here in Chicago, hopefully for my entire career, I want to be able to grow into that person that’s just reliable and gets the job done.”

David Montgomery must stay realistic about his contract hopes

These situations always come down to one thing. Money. The cold reality of the NFL is running backs don’t get paid big bucks. Not like they used to. Only eight players in the league are making north of $10 million per year. Does Montgomery deserve to be in that group? He might think so. He’s now made it three seasons in a row with 1,000 yards from scrimmage and at least seven touchdowns.

If he delivers a strong performance next season at 25-years old, he will have every right to demand a big contract. The problem is the Bears are in a salary cap conundrum with several bloated deals already on the payroll. With so many other key positions in need of help, the franchise may not feel comfortable giving David Montgomery that kind of money. Especially with a young kid like Khalil Herbert flashing such promise as a rookie.

That leaves two likely options.

Either Montgomery must keep his contract demands reasonable or he’ll have to accept the idea of free agency in 2023. Based on his words in that interview, the latter is not something he wants to think about. So it’s possible he might be open to giving the team a hometown discount provided the offer they make is fair. Here’s hoping the two sides reach common ground. Montgomery is the type of player you keep. Both for his on-field work and off-field leadership.

Erik Lambert
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.

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