Former Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard is back on the market. Should the team try to arrange a reunion?
Former Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard signed a two-year deal with the Miami Dolphins this past offseason. The deal was worth $9.75 million, with $4.75 million guaranteed. Howard has been mostly inactive this season, however. For the season, he has 28 rushes for 33 total yards and 4 touchdowns.
If Howard clears waivers, he’ll be free to sign with any team. The question remains: should the Bears go after their former 2016 draft pick?
Time with the Bears
Howard was drafted by the Bears in 2016 in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. As a rookie, he logged in 1,313 total rushing yards. He backed that up with 1,122 yards his second season. In fact, considering the rich running back history the Bears have, it was incredible that Howard is the one who rushed for the most yards in his first two seasons in franchise history.
He was a key part of the Bears’ success on offense in 2018 as well. Howard was the workhorse runner, allowing Tarik Cohen to work as a receiving back.
His time in Chicago didn’t last, as he was traded in 2019 to the Philadelphia Eagles for a sixth-round pick. Howard had a respectable year with the Eagles, logging in over 500 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
The Bears replaced Howard by drafting David Montgomery in 2019. The second-year back is currently dealing with a concussion, however. The team has activated Lamar Miller off their practice squad, but he hasn’t played in an NFL game since 2018.
Does he fit with this team?
The writing might have been on the wall for Howard this week. He was a healthy scratch for the fourth time this season. That happened despite the Dolphins having multiple injuries in their running backs corps. They opted to use undrafted rookie Salvon Ahmed, second-year back Patrick Laird (who also went undrafted), and trade deadline pickup DeAndre Washington. That said a lot about where Howard was on the team’s pecking order.
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores spoke highly of Howard.
I think he’s a good back. He’s definitely been productive. I think we had some other guys that stepped in and played well. For that reason, his reps were limited. When he did go in there, it felt like we had a little bit better production from some other guys. I don’t think that speaks to his talent level. He’s a talented young man. I wish him all the best.
On the one hand, bringing in Howard would be an easy transition. He knows the Bears offense and could even produce behind a struggling Bears offensive line. While his yards this season aren’t impressive, his touchdowns are. Montgomery struggles in short yardage and goal line situations, so perhaps Howard helps with that.
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On the other hand, Howard’s biggest problem with the Bears under head coach Matt Nagy was his inability to catch passes out of the backfield. If he returns to Chicago, when he gets on the field opposing defenses will know he won’t catch a pass. Again, the coaches can bring him in on goal line situations and he could help the offense score. So far this season, the Bears rank last in rushing touchdowns with just two.
The Chicago Bears could wait until Howard clears waivers so they don’t take his salary. They could then sign him for less once he clears. If things don’t work out with Miller, and the Bears need someone to help Montgomery, they might kick the tires on picking up Howard. The question then becomes whether he’ll want to come back.