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Bears Trade Howard to Eagles

A busy day for trades continues as the Chicago Bears have traded running back Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Howard was second in the league in rushing with 1,313 yards as a rookie in 2016 and also in the top 10 in 2017, but had only 935 in 2018 despite playing in all 16 games. The Bears will move forward with Tarik Cohen and ex-Seahawks runner Mike Davis.

In exchange, the Bears will get a 2020 sixth-round pick that can conditionally turn into a fifth-rounder.

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11 comments, Last at 24 Apr 2019, 1:19pm

1 Re: Bears Trade Howard to Eagles

As a Bears fan, I hate this move for a lot of reasons:
- why not keep him and get a compensatory pick next year? If he plays well - and he has every incentive in his final contract yr - the compensatory pick will be better than a 6th rd.
- timing - why now? Why not during the draft? Now you are telling the entire league that you are taking a RB with your first pick in the third rd. Someone will now jump you in the draft.
- doesn’t PHI run a similar RPO offense? So if PHi can make Howard work, why can’t CHI?
- value play - why not keep him to see if he can recreate the magic from his rookie yr? He looked like a higher end RB in his 1st two years. That just doesn’t go away. He looked like he was playing hurt last year.

Bottom line, this is th first Ryan Pace move that I outright dislike. Only rationale is that Howard has some big medical issues that he won’t likely overcome.

2 Re: Bears Trade Howard to Eagles

"Bottom line, this is th first Ryan Pace move that I outright dislike. Only rationale is that Howard has some big medical issues that he won’t likely overcome."

When cheap, productive, youth is shown the door, I always wonder about personality / locker room / coachability. As a Bears fan, have you any data?

5 Re: Bears Trade Howard to Eagles

The comp pick would likely not be much higher than a sixth. Ryan Grant signed a contract last year for $5M/year last year and it looks like Washington got a sixth round comp pick for him. Tevin Coleman signed for $5M/year this year. I don't think Howard is going to get a better contract than Coleman. Howard is not a game-changer like Bell or Elliott or Gurley. The going rate for rotation backs doesn't change much. Howard is a good RB, but he wasn't even the Bears best RB.

I still think it's stupid, but for other reasons and I'm a Packers fan. The Bears had three good RB on their roster with Davis, Cohen, and Howard. It's rare that any group of three RB all stay healthy the entire season. Even if Howard were the third option, he can still play special teams. They can still draft a later round RB to eventually replace Howard and I don't believe they're limited to drafting a RB in the third round.

I never liked the TT/McCarthy habit of going with two RB on the final Packers roster; I've seen where not having a decent third back (or any third RB on the gameday roster) has hurt my team. So I'm happy the Bears traded Howard because it makes them a slightly weaker team.

9 Re: Bears Trade Howard to Eagles

* The problem with keeping him and trying to get a compensatory pick next year is...that you have to keep him a year. I don't have access to the Premium database so I don't know his DVOA, but most analysis around the Bears I've seen was that he wasn't good this year. He's not a good receiver so he doesn't really fit the Nagy offense, and putting him out there was a huge sign to teams that a run was likely. If he had a bad/underutilized year (likely), your comp pick wouldn't be much.
* I don't see if there's any benefit to trying to make this trade during the draft. Trying to negotiate under the gun seems like it would just throw a wrench into the proceedings. There's been a lot of chatter about the Bears moving on from Howard so I doubt any other teams didn't have RB as a Bears need, and anyway there's no reason you have to take a RB with your first pick (3rd round). And if somebody's trading up for a RB in the third round that they passed twice...well, I'm usually okay with letting teams make that mistake.

I do think it's weird that they went for a 2020 pick rather than this year
* I am not well versed in the Philly offense. What I've heard analysts say is that the Nagy offense features a lot of gap runs, versus the John Fox zone runs that Howard was so good at. It's beyond my pay grade to say whether the Bears should have switched more to using zone runs to accommodate Howard, versus finding a RB who can do gap runs better, but that's what they're doing.

Anyway, I was surprised to hear that the Bears wanted to fundamentally change their RB rotation, but it was clearly out there. If you were surprised, you weren't listening.

3 Re: Bears Trade Howard to Eagles

There appears to have been an irrational reaction to this deal by Bears fans and bloggers, at least judging by sites such as Windy City Gridiron.

I had to make sure, as a Bears fan myself, that we were still talking about the guy that had very little impact on a 12-4 team, and was projected to have even less of an impact next year. A guy that everyone knew the Bears wanted to trade, and someone that is not even a lock to make the Eagles roster. He likely will, but he's not a lock.

Once the Bears signed Mike Davis, this relationship was over and everyone except Bears fans appeared to know this. Getting a draft pick was a bonus.

Jordan Howard is a nice runner. And if it was 1984 instead of 2019, he'd be a very valuable player. It's not 1984 though. At least not in football.

11 Re: Bears Trade Howard to Eagles

Where do you get that Howard wouldn't make the Eagles roster?

Which Eagles runningback would you take over Howard? Corey Clement (spent most of last season injured), Josh Adams (sure had flashes last season but was very inconsistent as a runner), Wendell Smallwood (a smaller and slower version of Howard), Donnell Pumphrey or Boston Scott? And this draft class is not full of good RB prospects, so it is unlikely that the Eagles find one in the draft.

The Eagles would not have made this trade if Howard was not in their plans for this season.

8 Re: Bears Trade Howard to Eagles

The Bears basically just swapped Howard for Mike Davis. Howard was due $2M this year because of a playing time escalator, Davis was signed for $3M (with a team option for a 2nd year at $3M), and the Bears pick up a 2020 5th or 6th round pick which basically cancels out that $1M difference. So it basically comes down to Howard vs. Davis.

The Bears preferred Davis, presumably because they can use him as a receiver. Seems like a close call.

10 Re: Bears Trade Howard to Eagles

Howard had a down year last year, 36th in rushing DVOA with a competent passing attack and competent to good offensive line. He doesn't seem to work well as a change of pace back and doesn't really fit the offense any more. Also it's 2019, unless you're Adrian Peterson, your running is not worth a huge amount.