Trading On margin

Is David Montgomery Trade Bait too big to sell?

First-year Bears general manager Ryan Poles isn’t shy about making trades. And with the NFL trade deadline arriving tomorrow, there could be more movement on the horizon. Trading Khalil Mack in the offseason, making a handful of deals on the last day of the 2022 NFL Draft, then moving both Robert Quinn *AND* Roquan Smith puts us on high alert for anything and everything. .

My gut tells me that anything not locked in Halas Hall could be traded. Based on the movement we’ve already seen from the Poles, part of my brain thinks running back David Montgomery might be a moving player. But based on what Montgomery brings to the table, I’m not so sure.

For what it’s worth, there’s some chatter:

On the one hand, it’s possible that what Da Bears Blog’s Jeff Hughes is hearing about several teams with an interest in negotiating for Montgomery is relevant. First, Jeff is an old-timer when it comes to Bears rumors. He hears things, then shares them. So Jeff has our attention when he tweets nuggets and treats. You must respect your elders in the Bears blogosphere.

But we also know there are teams that missed the Christian McCaffrey draw. For example, the Bills and Rams are plausible trade targets who might have eyes for Monty. We also know that the Rams were actively working on the phones before the trade deadline. Plus, it doesn’t look like the Bears are done making any deals, so it’s easy to make that connection. And since the running backs room seems like a strong position, it doesn’t take much to jump in and see a trade coming.

But on the other hand, the Bears should consider what Montgomery means to this team. Not necessarily short term in terms of winning games. But instead, when it comes to keeping the arrow pointing up in Justin Fields’ development. And it has nothing to do with Montgomery’s hard-nosed running style or his ability to drop forward and get tough yards.

Check out these stats:

The sample is not large, but the numbers stand out. Montgomery’s presence in the passing game overshadows what Herbert brings to the table in that area. As Johnathan Wood tweets above, we had an idea that Herbert wasn’t on par with Montgomery in the passing game. The eye test showed us that in these shots we had to evaluate. Moreover, the data from Pro Football Focus agrees. Montgomery’s pass blocking rating of 52.3 is better than Herbert’s 46.0 rating. Meanwhile, Herbert’s receiving score of 61.4 is lower than Montgomery’s 62.7. That’s not such a wide margin by PFF’s ranking standards. But given all the data available, this suggests that this is not an inconsequential margin. So much so that it helps make the case that sticking to Fields’ development would mean keeping Montgomery for that trade deadline. Yes, even if it costs the Bears the chance to add another draft pick to their treasure chest.

Finally, we must not overlook his team spirit and leadership qualities. There’s a human element to all of this, which the Poles said they considered before making the deal with Quinn. The Bears have already given out two captains. Would a profession of de facto captain make sense? I’m not so sure. The fact that Montgomery is such a help for a passing offense that needs it as much as possible makes me think trading him isn’t as likely as we might otherwise think. But stay tuned. Surprises could still happen.