G.W. Gras

Senior Writer for The Bears Brawl and Lead Host of The Bears Brawl Podcast.


(Source: Getty Images)

Ryan Pace has done an amazing job since taking over as general manager of the Chicago Bears – that much is obvious. Even with questionable signings (or flat out mistakes) like Trey Burton and Cody Parkey, Pace has still solidified himself as one of the smarter GM’s in football. With that being said, nobody knows what the Bears will do with the roster, or how much money will be thrown around.

Here are the best options for the Bears if they are trying to penny-pinch in the running back position this off-season:

 

(Oct. 13, 2018 – Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)

Spencer Ware

At 27 years of age, Ware still has some “prime” left. After having a great 2016 season where he rushed for 920 yards in 14 games, he missed all of 2017 due to a leg injury which led him to lose his starting job to Kareem Hunt. Many thought that when Hunt was kicked off the team in 2018, Ware would slide right back into the starting role and become “the guy” again but things didn’t line up correctly for him. He injured his hamstring and lost his starting job to Damien Williams.

Ware is a guy who has a tremendous upside if he can get back to his 2016 self. His familiarity and relationship with Nagy makes this option a pretty realistic one and considering he hasn’t done much of anything in two years, there is no reason to believe any team is willing to give him a blank check and run with it. Style-wise, he is a one-cut type of runner with some size and power. He played his college ball at LSU, which has become a birthing-place for NFL backs in recent years.

(Nov. 10, 2018 – Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)

Mike Davis

Since his days as a South Carolina Gamecock, I’ve had my eyes on Mike Davis. He took the reigns in South Carolina and had a 2013 season of 1,183 rushing yards, and followed that by a 2014 campaign where he rushed for 982. He came out into the draft a year early, and nobody can blame him for that but it forced him to be on a bad San Francisco 49ers team where he got no burn and for the last two seasons he has been a member of the Seattle Seahawks. It wasn’t until 2018 where Mike Davis started to look like the college prospect he was four or five years ago…

In a backfield that had a starter in Chris Carson and a first round draft pick in Rashaad Penny, Davis made the most of any opportunities that were given to him and ran for 514 yards on 112 carries (average of 4.6 yards a rush) and also caught 34 passes out of the backfield, averaging 6.3 yards a catch.  He’s another strong runner and has as “BigBlueView.Com” said years ago “surprising agility.”  What’s great about Davis is that for the type of runner he is, he has taken minimal damage to his body during his time in the NFL.

(Oct. 20, 2018 – Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)

Jordan Howard

Yes, the same Jordan Howard that is still signed to this team.  That guy. Why is he even on this list? Because, we all saw last season how Howard was used – either incorrectly, or not at all.  Before the season started, there were talks about Howard being traded and the sting from the playoff loss is still in the air for us all, but those whispers are starting again about moving Jordan Howard.  Jordan Howard comes cheap because he is on the last year of his rookie contract. Howard is set to make somewhere in the ballpark of a little over $2 million, which is a great price tag for a starting running back,  but this is a matter of “fit” more than anything else. Howard has only played three seasons in the NFL, two of which he ran for 1,000 yards and last year, he missed that mark by 65 yards. . . The Bears will have to decide if he is more valuable as a member of this team, at least for one more season – OR if he is more valuable as a trade asset.

There are undoubtedly teams in the league that would love to grab a talent like Howard for a one year price tag that cheap.  Especially a team that feels they are almost “there” in terms of making it to the playoffs or conference championship. It will all come down to what the Bears ultimately think of Jordan Howard.  Last season, Nagy seemed to stay away from Howard – even in situations that screamed for his skill set to be used. Is there a chance Howard is not on the Bears this year? Who knows. . .but it’s that question that led to me writing this piece in the first place. . .

Source: Getty Images)

TJ Yeldon

I thought Yeldon was going to “the guy” for the Jaguars, but they proved that assumption of mine to be wrong when they drafted Leonard Fournette two years later.  Yeldon has none-the-less proved to be a versatile back in the NFL. Last season he started only four games and recorded 400 rushing yards and 470 receiving yards. In his four year career he has averaged over four yards a carry.

Yeldon has become a smarter runner while in the NFL and doesn’t wait around to make his first cut as he did in college.  His versatility is something that this Bears offense would use to their advantage easily, because although he is better in space, he doesn’t mind running behind his offensive line for the “tough yards.”  Yeldon’s price tag might be the highest out of the four mentioned in this piece, but depending what the market will look like, this is definitely the kind of player the Bears should consider bringing on board.