Heading into the 2019 off-season, Chicago’s backfield consisted of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Although both backs have contributed heavily for the Bears, there is major room for improvement. Improving this backfield begins with Jordan Howard. Jordan Howard has far exceeded expectations as a 5th round back, but a change of face at the running back position would be extremely refreshing and necessary.

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As Howard enters his final year on his rookie contract, moving on is easier said than done. Howard will earn a little over $2M in 2019, a minor cap hit. Many question whether Howard fits into the offense schematically. Howard will thrive in an offense that leans on playing ahead and running the ball. However, finding a team that fits this scheme and has a major hole at running back does not make for an easy task. Jordan Howard’s worth would be anywhere between a 4th-5th round pick. Of course, packaging a day 2 pick along with Jordan Howard, could move Chicago up in the draft to find his replacement. As we approach the NFL Draft, keep an eye on Jordan Howard and rumors regarding a potential trade.

With many feasible free agency options, Ryan Pace signed Mike Davis to a 2-year deal worth $6M. Later, Pace would ink the versatile wideout, Cordarrelle Patterson. Patterson has lined up all over the field, including in the backfield, throughout his career. This will make for interesting formations and backfields with three completely different styled backs. Considering an imminent Howard trade, the running back room now consists of Mike Davis, Tarik Cohen, and (occasionally) Cordarrelle Patterson. However, this backfield renovation is far from finished.

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The NFL Draft is April 25th-27th and you can bet Pace will have his eyes set on a few backs. Nagy has stated he’s looking for a back with good vision who can also make guys miss at the next level. It is also important this back can assist in the passing game. There are a few backs that fit this mold. Miles Sanders, Darrell Henderson, David Montgomery, Justice Hill, and Bruce Anderson are several names to watch in the NFL Draft. Unfortunately, whether some of these players fall late in the 3rd round is questionable. This is where the Jordan Howard trade would make its way around for Chicago. Trading up and selecting Howard’s replacement in the 2nd or early 3rd round is a possibility. However, don’t be surprised to see Chicago take two running backs in day 2 and 3 of the Draft. It wouldn’t hurt and would increase competition.

How will these newcomers break the offensive rotation? The season will kick off led by Mike Davis, who should be viewed as a band-aid expansion player. Once comfortable, the backfield should belong to whichever rookie earns his spot. Cohen will maintain his usual touches. Patterson will get limited snaps out of the backfield, particularly in screen play and tosses out wide. At the moment, the Bears backfield is a major question mark. Pace and Nagy understand a dynamic running back is a major need in this offense. If anyone can solidify a hole in the later rounds of the draft, it is Ryan Pace. Pace has a plan and will follow through with it to solidify this positional weakness and turn it into a strength for the Bears in 2019.