Bears and Vikings also made offers to David Montgomery before Lions signed him
The Lions moved quickly at the start of free agency to agree to terms with running back David Montgomery, and they may have been motivated in part to keep Montgomery away from a couple of division rivals.
Montgomery also had offers to stay with the Bears or sign with the Vikings, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
Guaranteed money appears to be the difference, as Montgomery’s three-year, $18 million contract with the Lions includes both $8.75 million fully guaranteed at signing at $2.25 million fully guaranteed if he’s on the Lions’ roster on the third day of the 2024 league year.
The Bears’ front office and coaching staff has made clear that Montgomery was well-liked in Chicago and it’s not surprising that the Bears tried to keep him -- but it’s also not surprising that the Bears wouldn’t match the Lions’ guarantee, given the extent to which NFL teams have decided that running backs simply aren’t worth huge financial investments.
The Vikings might not seem to need a running back, with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison on the roster, but it’s unclear whether Cook (who has a $14.1 million cap hit this season) has a future in Minnesota, and Mattison had not yet re-signed with the Vikings at the time they were talking with Montgomery.
Montgomery has played his entire four-year NFL career in Chicago and is coming off a season in which he ran for 801 yards and added another 316 yards receiving. The Lions see him splitting carries with D’Andre Swift.