People keep talking about Roquan Smith and his extension. It’s easy to forget he isn’t the only notable former Chicago Bears draft pick fighting for his NFL future. David Montgomery is in the final year of his rookie contract. As a running back, he knows it’s unlikely he will get franchise tagged next off-season and doesn’t have the luxury of that sweet 5th-year option that Smith is enjoying. So Montgomery’s only hope is to have a great 2022.
He is off to a good start. Through two games, the 25-year-old has 148 yards rushing at 4.65 per carry. He also has five catches for 38 yards, bringing his total to 186. If this pace holds, he will finish the season with 1,581 total yards. That would be by far his best season as a pro with the Bears. It would put him in a great position at the negotiating table, considering the team wants to reward their own players.
The tricky part is figuring out what a new contract might look like.
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David Montgomery will look to Aaron Jones for guidance.
The former Green Bay Packers Pro Bowler received his extension in March of last year, collecting $48 million on a new four-year deal. That $12 million per year is the low end of what most top running backs are paid. No one else is above $8 million per year at present. Jones finished the season before that extension with 1,459 total yards and 11 touchdowns. The same happened for Joe Mixon in Cincinnati. After averaging over 1400 total yards in two of his previous three years, the Bengals also gave him $12 million per year in 2021.
Running backs aren’t likely to earn much more than that these days. Maybe David Montgomery can squeeze a bit more from the Bears if he starts scoring touchdowns. However, everything points to $12 million per year being the number to shoot for. It would be a nice payday for him after shouldering most of the load for Chicago’s offense over the past four seasons. Fans would love it too. GM Ryan Poles could also afford it with upwards of $100 million in cap space next off-season.