The Chicago Bears will have plenty of decisions to make, and one of them is running back. In a crowded free-agent group, the team will be debating paying David Montgomery, or finding a cheaper option and hoping to get value. One name that could be hitting free agency is Samaje Perine.
Should the Chicago Bears sign Samaje Perine in free agency?
On the surface, Samaje Perine has a skill set that would make him a poor man’s version of David Montgomery. He is certainly going to get a contract less than Montgomery. So, the question is whether they would rather pay Montgomery, or hope to get similar production from Perine on a lesser deal.
The big reality is that the Chicago Bears do not need the typical workload that they were getting from Montgomery. With Luke Getsy in the mix, and Khalil Herbert ascending, Montgomery went from 15.1 attempts to 16.5, 17.3 in his first three years down to 12.6 last season.
The team obviously still likes Montgomery, but there is a lack of explosion that they like to supplement with Herbert. Montgomery plays for the short-yardage runs because he can push the pile forward. He also plays on passing downs, because Herbert struggles in that area.
During the playoff push, when the Bengals’ offensive line started to struggle, you started to see a shift as the team played Joe Mixon less, and Samaje Perine more. Perine finished the playoffs with 107 snaps and Mixon had 97. That is because Perine was much better in pass protection, and the team needed it with their offensive line.
Mixon still finished with more carries, but when they needed Perine, he was there. This makes him the perfect complement for Khalil Herbert.
Heck, if he can push Mixon off of the field, that is a nice fit. Still, Perine had 175 carries as a rookie in 2017. From 2018-2022 he had 226 carries. Perine did have 95 carries last season, but that was the second most of his career.
So, if the Chicago Bears do make this move, it will either be Perine taking a step forward, Herbert taking a step forward or both. To be fair, the season both finished with makes you think both could handle a bigger workload.
If Perine can handle a similar role to David Montgomery, but he costs a decent chunk less, would he be on the Chicago Bears radar?