Eagles running back Jordan Howard didn't have the contract year he was hoping for after the Bears traded him to Philadelphia for pennies on the dollar last offseason. He ended 2019 with career-lows in carries (119) and yards (525), but did achieve his second-best yards per carry average at 4.4.
Howard was victimized by a midseason shoulder injury that opened the door for Eagles rookie Miles Sanders to take the starting job. Before his injury, Howard was producing much like he did in Chicago where he became the first Bears running back to begin a career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Howard scored a touchdown in five of his final seven games last year and averaged 4.1 yards per carry in six of those seven games. He tore up the Bears in Week 9, running for 82 yards and a touchdown in an Eagles' victory.
In 2019, Howard had 123 fewer carries than Bears starter David Montgomery but still managed the same number of rushing touchdowns (6). If Howard had the same workload as Montgomery, he would have ended the year with 992 yards; Montgomery finished with 889.
The Eagles are not expected to re-sign Howard this offseason and it's unlikely that the market for his services will be high. Considering that the Bears don't have much depth behind Montgomery with only Tarik Cohen as a change-of-pace option off the bench, it's possible that Howard's low-market value combined with Chicago's struggles to bang the ball between the tackles might make for a reunion.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace has added at least one running back in four of five offseasons. He drafted Jeremy Langford in 2015, Howard in 2016, Cohen in 2017 and Montgomery in 2019, and signed Mike Davis as a free agent last offseason. You can bet he'll draft or sign one in 2020 and it makes sense to give Howard, who already knows Matt Nagy's offense, some consideration.
The Bears could offer Howard the same deal they gave Davis last March (two years, $6 million). His history warrants that kind of pay. With Montgomery as the starter, Howard's role can be specifically designed to assist in short-yardage and goal line situations. Montgomery and Howard can even split carries if it gives the offense its most effective rushing attack.
Howard is going to follow the money this offseason. But after a down year at a position that isn't highly valued to begin with, the Bears can swoop in and bring him back at a discount.