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If David Montgomery truly is underappreciated, it doesn't matter as long as it's not by the Bears.

A story by NFL.com's Cynthia Frelund rated every team's most underappreciated player and she has named David Montgomery as the Bears' overlooked guy. This could actually be the case with the general public because Montgomery rarely gets mentioned league-wide among the best backs, while media treats him as an afterthought.

For instance, Pro Football Focus on Friday released a story naming the best three players on each team and left Montgomery off the Bears' list while naming Darnell Mooney, Jaylon Johnson and Roquan Smith. Not only was Montgomery missing from the top three, but the story also named other players receiving consideration and the two others considered for the Bears were Robert Quinn and Justin Fields, not Montgomery. t least Montgomery has company in being underrated in a story by CBS Sports about the best and worst triplets: teams' receiver-quarterback-running back combinations. Montgomery, Fields and Mooney combined are rated 30th best of the league's 32 triplets.

In her story for NFL.com, Frelund cited next-gen type stats saying Montgomery was contacted before getting to top speed at the third-highest rate last year and faced "multiple hits on the fifth-highest percentage of rushes" or runs after catch. She blamed all of this on the offensive line and complained about how they appeared to have grown worse because they replaced Jason Peters and James Daniels with backups Julie'n Davenport and Dakota Dozier.

This isn't true, of course. They replaced Peters with Larry Borom and Dozier is only one of the options being considered as a replacement for Daniels. Davenport is only a backup or swing tackle behind Borom and Teven Jenkins.

The line could struggle because the alternatives at right guard are center Sam Mustipher or one of the Day 3 rookies the Bears drafted. The two tackles are second-year players who didn't even start half a season in 2021.

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Regardless of the line, the Bears can do something to rectify the entire situation. That would be sign Montgomery to a contract extension.

They also have one to give to Smith, and as their best defensive player it's expected he'd receive one first.

It was Bears board chairman George McCaskey who lauded the play of both Smith and Montgomery last year as bright spots in a dismal team performance.

The Bears can make sure Montgomery isn't underrated by them or underappreciated in a way that really matters simply by opening up their wallets.

Twitter: BearDigest@BearsOnMaven