Was Jordan Howard for Jarvis Landry Discussed?

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 24: Jordan Howard
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 24: Jordan Howard /

Did Ryan Pace shop Jordan Howard in Indianapolis?

There are plenty of rumors that surface every year in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine. Most of them have some level of truth to them but many of them never result in anything of substance. Probably the biggest rumor that came out of the combine was a potential trade involving Jordan Howard being sent from the Chicago Bears for the Miami Dolphins in exchange for Jarvis Landry.

The trade rumor started rumbling on Saturday morning, and by Saturday afternoon, there was enough smoke that John “Moon” Mullin from NBC Chicago pushed it out in an article.

The trade parameters were the Bears sending Howard and the 8th overall pick to Miami for Jarvis Landry, the 11th overall pick and the Dolphins’ 2018 third rounder as well. After that article surfaced, the national media insiders started doing some digging. Ian Rapoport from NFL Network responded via Twitter.

So what we have here are conflicting reports. Moon Mullin is one of the most, if not the most, connected writers in Chicago. He’s been covering the Bears for decades, he’s broken countless stories, and he’s a smart, well-respected reporter. Mullin is not the type to push out flimsy rumors, he’s never done that in his career, so why would he start now?

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Rapoport, meanwhile, is probably the second or third best information man in the NFL behind Adam Schefter and probably Jay Glazer. Rapoport has gotten information wrong in the past, but most of his information is very good. So who should Bears’ fans believe?

At first glance, the Bears even entertaining the notion of trading their offensive MVP the last two years seems beyond ridiculous. But with a new coaching staff, let’s examine it a little closer.

Matt Nagy’s offense is going to need running backs that can catch passes. He’s also going to need running backs that can pass block. Neither of those is Howard’s strengths. As a runner, Howard is fantastic, but as a blocker he’s mediocre and as a pass catcher he’s below average.

If Howard were to be involved in Nagy’s offense, his presence would lead to a lot of predictability. When Howard is in the game, the Bears are going to be a run-heavy team, when Howard is out and Tarik Cohen or another running back is in the game, the Bears will be more pass-heavy.

The Bears biggest issue last year on offense was predictability, and a large part of that was how they used personnel.

Part of Nagy’s offense will be predicated on unpredictability. That is something that Howard doesn’t provide. That means Howard probably won’t be extended when his rookie deal expires after the 2019 season.

Howard is talented, there’s no question about that, it would be a hard pill to swallow if the Bears lose him after 2019 and don’t get anything in return. Howard’s trade value after the 2018 season won’t be nearly as good as his value prior to the 2018 season. Right now, Howard has two years of control coming off two excellent campaigns. He will draw interest from teams if Ryan Pace chooses to shop him. Howard is at his peak trade value right now, so if the Bears don’t feel Howard is a fit for Nagy’s offense, this is the time to trade him.

At the same time, it’s also difficult to believe that Pace would create a large hole at running back when he has several holes on the team already. Why create a problem that isn’t there? The Bears need to solidify their cornerback position, improve their defensive line and their pass rush, completely overhaul their wide receivers and tweak the offensive line. There is plenty of work to do on the roster already, so would it make sense to create a void at running back?

It doesn’t seem of much value to the Bears to just move Howard for a third or fourth round pick, but if the Bears can use Howard to bring back significant draft value or an impact player, it’s something the Bears would have to consider, especially considering it’s hard to see Howard, as good as he is, as a long-term fit in Chicago.