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Analysis Bears

Should the Bears Trade RB Jordan Howard?

The Chicago Bears shouldn't trade RB Jordan Howard in the middle of the season, but this offseason could be a different story.

Coming off of their bye week, the Chicago Bears are preparing to take on the Miami Dolphins this Sunday. Before their bye, the offense put up 48 points on the mediocre Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense.

Everyone seemed to get involved…except RB Jordan Howard, who wasn’t utilized very much. Tarik Cohen got 20 touches, while Howard got the ball just 11 times. Now, game-flow did play into that as well.

The Bucs had a hard time against Cohen, who can do a little bit of everything coming out of the backfield. There were reports that Howard was upset with his usage. That was confirmed after he declined to talk to reporters after the game.

Head coach Matt Nagy also mentioned something on Monday that suggested Howard didn’t love the way he was being utilized. Last Sunday’s game wasn’t the first time Cohen out-snapped Howard either, and it won’t be the last.

With just 203 rushing yards and one touchdown through four games, Howard is well behind his pace from both 2016 and 2017. That team was coached by a man who was scared to do much of anything on offense besides run the ball in between the tackles.

Howard was also the Bears only real weapon on offense at the time. Things have changed in a big way, clearly. Nagy’s gameplan is going to change week-to-week, even quarter-to-quarter, and that’s a good thing. Teams should make adjustments in the middle of games.

The greatest coach in NFL history, Bill Bellicheck never commits to one player or gameplan and look how that’s turned out. Sure, fantasy owners find it impossible to figure out the Patriots’ backfield, but from a coaching perspective, it’s the best thing to do.

Again, game-flow contributes to this as well. If the Bears are up, it’s likely that Howard will get the ball more and vice versa.

On Tuesday, John Clayton mentioned that the Philadelphia Eagles, who just lost Jay Ajayi for the season, could potentially trade for Howard.

This did catch many people by surprise, but should it have? In April, there were rumors of the Bears shopping Howard on the open market as well. The argument was that Howard wasn’t as versatile as Cohen and there were plenty of veteran RBs on the market the Bears could use in short-yardage situations.

Nothing materialized and Nagy claimed Howard was a feature back. It’s simple – Howard wasn’t a featured against the Bucs, but he’s still a big part of the offense going forward, at least for this season.

I’ve seen a lot of back and forth on Twitter, so I wanted to try and clear some things up. So, let’s start with the most obvious question:

Should the Bears Trade Jordan Howard?

This is a trick question.

No, right now, the Bears should not trade Howard. Sorry, but Benny Cunningham and someone like Knile Davis should not be expected to jump right in and do what Howard does in short yardage situations.

Now, if the Bears were offered a second-round pick, then you think about doing that deal. However, Howard, being an RB, is probably worth a mid-round pick at this point. Even a third would not be enough for me or the Bears to send him away in the middle of the season.

With that being said, I do expect the Bears to test the market for Howard this offseason. Howard probably won’t be on the team after his rookie deal…that’s the life of an RB in the NFL.

The Bears should and probably will draft another RB in 2019. Ideally, one with a bit more versatility than Howard. If they trade Howard in the offseason, there are also plenty of veteran free agent RBs that could be signed to handle goalline and short-yardage situations.

Players that come to mind off the top of my head are Alfred Morris, Carlos Hyde, etc. The list goes on forever. Having Cohen, a versatile rookie, and a short-yardage back makes a ton of sense.

In fact, let’s look at the last two Super Bowl winners: the Eagles and Patriots. Both had a three-back system. The Eagles last year with LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, and Corey Clement. The Patriots had James White, Dion Lewis, and Blount in 2016.

There’s a trend here people. In today’s NFL, it’s best to have as many weapons as possible. Yes, there are exceptions like Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, and Le’Veon Bell, but Howard isn’t that and never will be.

He’s a nice player that is best when running the ball between the tackles. He does deserve credit for becoming a better pass catcher, but he’s never going to be an RB that catches the football 10 plus times a game.

So to answer that question, no, you don’t trade Howard now, but this offseason anything goes. Getting back a third or even fourth round pick would be huge for the Bears, especially after the Khalil Mack trade.

Conclusion

Who knows?

The Bears could keep Howard passed this season, which is fine. He’s a solid player. It’s foolish to believe he’s not expendable though, especially after team’s like the Patriots, Eagles, Falcons, and Saints use more than one RB.

Nagy never should plan on using Howard as the featured back unless the Bears are up in the game or winding down the clock in the fourth quarter. Instead, it is best to utilize more than one back in an offense.

Last Sunday, it was Cohen. This week, it could be Howard. The point is it’s hard to understand Howard’s frustration after winning a game by nearly 40 points. He did deny the reports, but at this point, it’s easy to see what’s true and what’s not.

“I wasn’t frustrated,” Howard said. “I was happy. We won. You see how much we won by. So there’s really nothing to complain about…With a game like that, you don’t have anything to complain about. You’ve just gotta be happy about a win.”

Don’t expect the Bears to move Howard during the 2018 season. However, don’t rule them out moving him this offseason.

Follow Nick on Twitter–Featured Photo Credit: ESPN.com

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Nick is a recent graduate of Northern Illinois University and passionate about everything Chicago sports (except the Cubs). He has run his own website, been featured on Bleacher Report, and tried to sell his soul on eBay (which he hasn’t gotten back). He hopes to one day see his beloved Bears win the Super Bowl and is still trying to figure out why Jay Cutler gets so much hate.

8 comments on “Should the Bears Trade RB Jordan Howard?

  1. Jerrel Elam

    I love Howard but the way Nagy system setup sadly he’s expandable (I hate saying that because he has great value but not in a critical area which is pass catching). If offered 1st or even a 2nd bears should jump just have a back plan for replacement. If 3rd or less wait til offseason but we all know Howard won’t be around after rookie contract anyway

  2. Don’t do it. He’s cheap and a great running back.
    Why trade when we have above running back at least until his rookie contract is over. You may never know when you might need a great running back? He’s also getting allot better catching I have seen this season. He will keep getting allot better. Just don’t start making big moves now because we won 1 game with allot of points. Its been just one game really. Don’t get ahead of your selves. Pace has let a few players go I think we would like back. Robbie G. and others. Then if we do trade him and we need a new running back, your going to pay more for a new one and may not be as good either? Could cost allot of money and or a draft pick? DON’T DO IT

  3. I say trade him. His stock is as high as it will be right now after 2 1,000+ yard seasons. If he doesn’t get over a 1,000 yards rushing this season then his stock will dip. Trade him now to a team that may think they are a running back away from competing in the playoffs or who has a giant hole at running back and hopefully you can get a high draft pick for him. The Eagles are looking and although I would rather not trade him to a team within our own conference but since they are capped strapped and Howard is still on his rookie deal it seems like an ideal fit. I say test the waters see if you could trade him for their 1st round or 2nd round pick. Since either would most likely be a later 1st or 2nd given the state of the Eagles they may just say yes. As for not having a short yardage back on the roster? Lets not forget about Ryan Nall he is on our practice squad and at 6’2″ 232lbs he is what you look for in a power back. Now I know he was facing 2nd and 3rd string competition in the preseason and starters are a different beast all together but I say lets give him a shot. Besides it IS very likely that the Bears draft another running back in the 2019 draft. Although he is out for the remainder of the season I do like what I have seen of Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson. You could probably grab him in rounds 3-5. He would be a perfect fit in the Nagy offense. I recommend you watch tape of him if you don’t know of him.

    • Bell couldnt get traded for a 2nd, and you say the eagles may trade a 1st or 2nd for howard? 😂😂😂 is love to live in the same world as you lol we don’t win for years, and now we have a chance and people are talking about trading one of our best players because of a slow start. Makes perfect sense 😂😂😂

  4. Nick , bear down ,and slow down my friend. J How is going to be a bear for a while , think who won those games under Fox ? Jordan did it ,who moves the chains down hill ? Jordan did it , who moves the chains between tackles ? Jordan did it , how about bad weather situations ? Jordan did it , ok ok how about the rushing yards behind only 1 Elliott ? Jordan did it , and for your editorial belief pass protection for Mitchell T. In the time of need?……………………………………………………….
    JORDAN DID IT ! Bye the way great read keep at it Nagy preaches OBSESSION for the W. not for the individual , now LET’S GET TROPICAL ! Lol.

  5. Stupid move, would you rather have a 4th rd pick, or keep him both years and probably get a compensatory pick for him. (5th-6th rd)

  6. Dahlillama

    A LITTLE PRESUMPTIVE TO SUGGEST A TRADE WHEN A POWER BACK LIKE HOWARD CAN BE A GREAT COMPLIMENT TO THE TEAM IN VARIOUS WAYS, DON’T FORGET HE HAS TAKEN OVER GAMES IN THE PAST AND HIS WORK ETHIC IS IMPECABLE SO PLEASE DON’T GET TOO EXCITED TO TRADE HIM AS DRAFT PICKS ARE MANY TIMES DRAFT BUSTS, INCLUDING WITH THE BEARS, ALTHOUGH THEY ARE IMPROVING DRAMATICALLY WITH THE DRAFT.

  7. No you don’t trade him. 3rd and 2 or 4th and 1 who you going to give the ball to. He is also our goal line back. Don’t be stupid we need that bull.

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