Jordan Howard’s name has surfaced once again in a trade rumor.
Jordan Howard has had an up and down 2018 calendar year. Unfortunately for him, most of the year has been down.
Howard started off the year coming off a second solid season and instantly became the target of fans and media when Matt Nagy was hired about how he wouldn’t fit the offense.
Shortly before free agency began, trade rumors surfaced involving Jarvis Landry and Howard. How serious were they? Nobody could really know for certain.
After free agency concluded, Howard decided to scrub his personal Instagram page of anything related to the Chicago Bears, but a few days later decided to put everything back up. Did that mean something? Who knows.
After the Bears’ first four games of the season, Howard is off to the worst start in his professional career, averaging only 3.2 yards per carry and being largely left out of the game plan against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Reports were that Howard left the Bucs’ game in a huff and refused to talk to the media, and now we have more trade rumors that have surfaced around Howard.
Longtime NFL reporter John Clayton reports that the Eagles are interested in Howard. As a little more information surfaced, it was reported that the Eagles contacted the Bears, but there were no reports as to just how far the conversation lasted between Philadelphia and Ryan Pace.
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Howard has another year on his rookie contract after this one, so the Bears will have to decide if they want to keep Howard after the 2019 season. It is true that Howard doesn’t quite fit this offense, but he is an asset, especially his ability to gain hard yards in between the tackles.
If the Bears decide that Howard doesn’t fit in their long-term plans, it would be sensible to look at trading him this offseason. Howard would be a cheap option for a team needing running back help and the Bears could probably land a midround pick for him. Otherwise, if the Bears decide to keep Howard in uniform for next season, they’ll most likely lose him for nothing.
Knowing that the future of Howard with the team is muddled, does that give more validity to these trade rumors and issues surrounding Howard this season? It absolutely does, but trading Howard in the middle of the season does not make much sense for this Bears’ team.
In the NFL, if you have a chance to win, you never wait for next season, because you never know what next season will bring. The Bears sit at 3-1 and if they trade Howard, it would almost certainly be for a draft pick and not bring back anyone that would help the team this year.
While Howard doesn’t fit everything Nagy certainly wants to do, he does give the team a running back who can get a dozen second half carries in a December game and run down the clock. He is capable of running a dive play behind Kyle Long and pick up 2 yards on a 3rd and one. Howard has skills that the Bears need, and if they trade him for a draft pick, they are leaving themselves a hole on the roster this year, which doesn’t make sense.
Some Bears’ fans will scream that they have Ryan Nall and they’ll be fine. Keep in mind, perhaps one day Nall will be an asset to this team, but we’ve never seen Nall play against NFL first-stringers. Nall dominated NFL third-stringers in the preseason, but even when he was in the game earlier against second-stringers, he lost a lot of his effectiveness. He may not be able to play against top NFL players.
Trading Howard and leaving yourself a running back tandem of Benny Cunningham and Ryan Nall does not seem like a prudent decision to make for a team that sits in first place in the division.
Howard’s future with the Bears is murky. If you read anything into the trade rumors, that only strengthens that statement. If you read anything into the Instagram story and the postgame story after the Bucs’ game, it shows that perhaps Howard isn’t happy about it.
It makes plenty of sense for the Chicago Bears to be shopping Jordan Howard, but not until February of 2019.