Why Bears Have No Interest in Signing Devonta Freeman
The Reserve/COVID-19 List claimed rookie running back Artavis Pierce for now and still Bears general manager Ryan Pace sees no reason to bring another running back to the roster.
There are several unsigned free agents available, including former Falcons back Devonta Freeman. Former Texans back Lamar Miller is unsigned after tearing an ACL and MCL last August. Also hoping to return to the league is LeSean McCoy, who had worked with Bears coach Matt Nagy and offensive line coach Juan Castillo in the past.
However, Pace is clinging to his faith in the backs they have behind David Montgomery, including Ryan Nall, third-down back Tarik Cohen and undrafted rookie Napoleon Maxwell from Florida International.
"I don't feel that way about the running back room," Pace said at Wednesday's press teleconference. "I feel like with David, we're going to continue to see him progress and we're really happy with the way that he performed last year. Definitely arrow up.
"Tarik, everything that we can gather as far as his mental mindset right now, his approach to this season, we're excited about Tarik. I like his approach. You factor in Ryan Nall, who we like, who's growing here in our organization. So I'm excited about our running back room. I think there's obviously some new wrinkles this season in regards to Matt, his staff and what they'll do. So I would disagree. I think it's a talented room and we like our depth in there."
Cohen is coming back from an offseason when his rushing average dipped from 4.5 yards a carry to 3.3. Nall has only two NFL carries and even Montgomery didn't have a strong year for a rookie running back with 889 yards on 242 carries.
The wrinkles Pace talked about will go unexplained until the regular season begins in Detroit Sept. 13, but there's a good chance it has to do with wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson.
Last year the Bears underused Patterson to a great extent. He had only 11 catches and 17 rushing attemmpts. Yet, as a runner he averaged 6.1 yards a carry behind a bad offensive line.
It would be easy to see the Bears lining up Patterson deep and running him on anything from stretch plays to simple toss plays.
So while backs like Freeman and Miller might require another difficult expenditure by a team needing its cap money, the solution for the Bears could already be on the roster in the wide receiver room at Halas Hall.