What it could cost Bears to re-sign David Montgomery

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The Bears have some decisions to make about pending in-house free agents, which starts with running back David Montgomery.

Montgomery has been one of Chicago’s best offensive players since he was drafted in 2019. He was also a key contributor in the Bears’ top-ranked rushing attack this season.

GM Ryan Poles expressed his desire to bring back Montgomery, who has been a significant contributor and leader on offense.

“I’ve always wanted to keep David,” Poles said. “I love his mentality, how he plays the game. I told him that to his face,” Poles said. “He’s part of the identity that we had this year that kept us competitive.”

But just because Poles wants to re-sign Montgomery doesn’t mean things are going to work out. (Look no further than the Roquan Smith situation).

According to 670 the Score’s Chris Emma, Montgomery could seek a contract that goes above what the Bears would be willing to pay.

Montgomery might seek $12 million annually, which is what running backs Aaron Jones (Packers) and Joe Mixon (Bengals) receive from their teams. That figure is tied for the seventh-highest annual salary for a running back. It would be a reasonable request from Montgomery, though the Bears might be more inclined to want to pay something like the $7 million annually that Leonard Fournette (Buccaneers) and James Conner (Cardinals) make. Those two running backs pull in the ninth-highest salaries at their position.

Sure, the Bears are projected to have north of $110 million in salary cap space. But there are a number of holes that need to be addressed on this roster. Chicago might not be willing to pay as much as $12 million per year, especially given they have another dependable guy in the backfield.

The Bears are confident in second-year running back Khalil Herbert, who rushed for 731 yards, averaged 5.7 yards per carry (most in the NFL) and scored four touchdowns. Herbert could step into that lead back role next season.

Now, the question becomes if the two sides can find common ground on an extension.

“If he’s here, I’m going to be excited,” Herbert said. “If he’s not, I know he’s going to get paid. I can’t control what happens. But he’s going to get paid. That’s what I’m happy about.”


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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire