PHOENIX — Matt Nagy acknowledged Tuesday the trade rumors surrounding Jordan Howard and said the Bears will at least entertain any offers that could make their team better. Whether an offer were to come along that would make the Bears a better team while giving up their three-time leading rusher, though, remains to be seen.
If the Bears do keep Howard, either out of necessity or lack of interest, Nagy said he can envision a role for the 24-year-old running back.
“What we believe in is trying to find that mix and that mold of some running backs that we put together when you have a Jordan Howard, a Tarik Cohen, a Mike Davis — they all have different traits,” Nagy said. “Some of it’s protection, some of it’s scatting out of the backfield, some of it’s from empty. You just like to figure out what’s the best way to use them and anytime you can add guys to your position, it’s good.”
Nagy and his coaching staff are in the nascent stages of figuring out what that best way is, a process that’ll begin in earnest when players report to Halas Hall in mid-April. The Bears may not be done adding running backs, either, with Nagy and Pace meeting with and/or working out various draft-eligible running backs (a video recently surfaced of Nagy and Pace working out Ohio State’s Mike Weber, for instance).
If the Bears do draft a running back, it could create an awkward situation in that room. But general manager Ryan Pace cautioned that wouldn’t necessarily be the case.
“I know the way Matt is, he likes that kind of by committee approach and using them in different ways, and you know how creative he can be on offense,” Pace said. “And who knows what’s going to happen in the draft. It’s going to be a unique year where we’re picking and it’s still going to be best player available. If it is a running back then we’ll sort through it. And if you happen to have a lot of depth there, then that can be a good thing.”
As for Davis, the first thing Nagy pointed to when asked what the Bears liked about the ex-Seattle Seahawk was that he “didn’t have a lot of tread on his tires,” a nod to the 234 career rushing attempts with which he comes to Chicago (Howard had 250 in 2018 alone). Beyond that, Davis checked off some of the desired traits Nagy laid out to the public back at the NFL Combine in February: Specifically, good vision and the ability to make defenders miss.
Plus, while Davis didn’t do much as a pass-catcher in Seattle, Nagy said the Bears are intrigued by his athleticism and how that can translate into a greater receiving role.
“We thought that would be a good addition to our side of the ball on offense. We’re intrigued to get him in and start learning who he is as a person. From all the research we did on him, we thought it was a great fit.
“… He’s an athlete. And as long as you’re an athlete, you can make it work.”