Jordan Howard

Tarik Cohen admits losing Jordan Howard ‘hurt me a little bit’

Tarik Cohen admits losing Jordan Howard ‘hurt me a little bit’

The Jordan Howard trade was tough for Tarik Cohen.

The two Bears running backs had formed a backfield bond over the last two seasons, and Cohen was there to support him during the rumors and eventual move to Philadelphia.

“I was really following after him as soon as I came to the Bears because I was one year behind him, so he could tell me everything to do because he had already been through it,” Cohen said Monday. “Losing him, it hurt me a little bit. I’m not going to lie. It hurt me, because that’s like my brother.”

Both running backs understand football is a business as they go their separate ways. Cohen’s “brother” will get to work in the city of brotherly love, while the North Carolina native continues to go out in his adopted community.

Cohen and Bears chairman George McCaskey met with members of Heartland Alliance’s Rapid Employment and Development Initiative in Chicago as part of the team’s effort to combat gun violence.

“I wear a ‘C’ on my helmet every Sunday, and every time I play a game,” Cohen said. “So I feel like it’s necessary for me to get inside the community and see what’s going on, and to help any way I can.”

With Howard exchanging his “C” for green wings, Cohen is now the running back a year ahead in Matt Nagy’s offense as Mike Davis joins the backfield.

The former Seattle Seahawk is just getting to know Halas Hall in the first phase of the offseason program, but he and Cohen had already connected through a mutual friend — fellow North Carolina native Todd Gurley.

“Mike, he’s like one of the guys,” Cohen said. “He’s already fitting in the locker room. Everybody’s already getting along cool.”

Just like that, life moves on without Howard in Chicago. Cohen expects Ryan Pace to add a rookie to the backfield too, and then it’ll be his turn to be the mentor.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Under Center Podcast Ep. 196: Digesting the Jordan Howard trade and an update on Chicago Football Madness

jordan_howard_usa_today.jpg
USA Today

Under Center Podcast Ep. 196: Digesting the Jordan Howard trade and an update on Chicago Football Madness

JJ Stankevitz, Cam Ellis and Paul Aspan dive into the Jordan Howard trade and if it makes sense for the Bears (0:35), get into what Aaron Lynch can bring in his return (9:30), update Robbie Gould's Cinderella run in Chicago Football Madness (14:30) and debate which team is the Bears' biggest threat in the NFC North (19:30). 

You can listen to the entire thing right here, or in the embedded player below: 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Recent history shows how Jordan Howard trade could benefit Bears

Recent history shows how Jordan Howard trade could benefit Bears

Ryan Pace decided to part with a piece of the Bears’ offense, a seemingly-important piece to have around quarterback Mitch Trubisky who led the team in an offensive category in the past. 

That could’ve been the lede to a story a year ago about the Bears not matching the New Orleans Saints’ offer sheet for then-restricted free agent wide receiver Cameron Meredith. It applies now, too, in the aftermath of last week’s trade to ship running back Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2020 draft pick.

Broadly, the situation is similar to that of Howard: The Bears let go of a player they felt didn't fit their plans. 

Of course, the specifics are different. The Bears knew Meredith’s medicals after he tore his ACL in a preseason game in 2017 and weren’t willing to guarantee over $5 million to him, as the Saints did. Meredith appeared in only six games for New Orleans in 2018 and had his knee scoped after landing on injured reserve. Keeping him would’ve meant not drafting Anthony Miller, who led the Bears in receiving touchdowns as a rookie in 2018. 

Howard, however, doesn’t have a history of injuries. He simply didn’t fit what the Bears hoped to accomplish out of a running back unit that added Mike Davis in free agency and seems likely to add another player in the draft, just as Pace did in letting go of Meredith and drafting Miller. 

Granted, Pace doesn’t have a second-round pick — or, too, three picks in the first two rounds, as he did after trading back into last year’s second round to take Miller — with which to draft a running back. The Bears aren’t necessarily going to take a running back when they go on the clock with the 87th pick in April's draft. 

“It’s going to be a unique year where we’re picking and it’s still going to be best player available,” Pace said. 

The good news for the Bears’ running back depth chart is players at that position usually fall a round or two below their grade, given teams (that don't play at MetLife Stadium) usually don't prioritize that position. The Bears could have a second-round grade on someone like Penn State’s Miles Sanders or Memphis’ Darrell Henderson and get them in the third round, or even the fourth round (the lack of a clear-cut top running back in this year’s draft class, though, could lead a few to go off the board after the first round). Or the Bears could see a good prospect to target with a fourth- or fifth-round pick, perhaps like Ohio State’s Mike Weber or Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams. Either way, the Bears will have options. 

But for those concerned/annoyed/frustrated with the Bears’ trade of Howard, perhaps consider what happened a year ago. The Bears didn’t appear to be a better team when they let Meredith go to New Orleans, then wound up a better team because they replaced him with Miller. 

With Pace and Matt Nagy working closely to identify the right guy to add to their running back group with Howard out of the picture, perhaps they deserve some benefit of the doubt. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.