G.W. Gras

Senior Writer for The Bears Brawl and Lead Host of The Bears Brawl Podcast.

Never would anyone put these words together: “Chicago has just traded Jordan.”  That’s insanity.  It’s blasphemous. But low and behold, Chicago has just traded Jordan.

Now, we all know it wasn’t that Jordan, but none-the-less, running back Jordan Howard is no longer a member of the Chicago Bears.

Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

If you’ve kept your ear close to the grumblings out of Halas Hall, this was a possibility before the start of last season.  So seeing it happen before this year’s draft should come as no surprise.   What may have come as a surprise to some, was where Howard was traded to and for what.

The Philadelphia Eagles were the victors of the “double-doink” travesty that ended the Bears’ Super Bowl hopes.  Eagles fans were quick to run onto twitter and remind us all just how “humble” of a fan base they can be. . .yeah, right.   Even with that, Ryan Pace made the decision to hand over the services of Jordan Howard to the Eagles.

From day one of the Matt Nagy Era in Chicago, it’s been noted that Howard would not or could not fit into this system.  Whether or not you feel he did or didn’t, isn’t the issue here – the issue here is that Nagy has a similar coaching style to that of Eagle’s head coach Doug Pederson.  Both sprouted under the Andy Reid coaching tree, so if Howard didn’t fit in Nagy’s offense – one would think he shouldn’t be able to fit into Pederson’s.  Right?  Eh. . .

Source: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images North America

After a discussion with the Bears Brawl’s own, Mike Brez – he reminded me of how Andy Reid, throughout his career, has never stuck to one single running style.  He’s switched it up throughout.  Sometimes he wants to get a speed back in space, sometimes he wants to run behind his guards – it really just depends on the schemes he feels comfortable with at the time.  Pederson may have inherited that same mindset, or maybe he just sees how he can incorporate Howard into his offense.  Whatever the reason, the Eagles wanted him and they got him.

But what did it cost them?  If you ask the Bears fans who wanted Jordan Howard to retire in navy and orange – it costed the Eagles “nothing.”

When the news broke of the trade, Jeremy Bergman of NFL.COM reported that in exchange for Howard, the Bears received  a 2020 sixth-round pick (with conditions in the trade that could flex that selection to a 2020 fifth-round pick).  

Many thought that if the Bears did decide to trade Howard it would be to move up in this year’s draft, but obviously there wasn’t a real a market for Howard.  What is head- scratching about this trade is that the Dolphins traded Jay Ajayi to the Eagles in 2017 and got a fourth round pick.  This only tells me, word-on-the-street was that the Bears were desperate to move from Howard.  That kind of desperation won’t win you advantages in the art of bartering. . .

Let’s keep in mind, Jordan Howard was a fifth round pick.  Let’s also keep in mind that the NFL has shown that the running back position is easily replaceable and is not worth paying big money to.  If Howard was to stay a Bear passed this season, they would’ve had to pay him.  And according to these numbers tweeted out earlier today by Graham Barfield, this was a move made by Ryan Pace and the Bears to get rid of a player who may already be “on the decline”: Since he finished second in the NFL in rushing and averaged 5.2 YPC in his rookie year, Jordan Howard ranks 31st in success rate, 36th in yards after contact, and 53rd in missed tackles forced among 60 RBs over the last two seasons (@GrahamBarfield).”

Source: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images North America

So what do the Bears do now?

There are some good backs in this draft.  Even ones that may slip to the Bears in the third or fourth rounds.  There are also names like Spencer Ware and T.J. Yeldon still out there in free agency as well.   With Tarik Cohen and the newest addition Mike Davis in the Bears’ backfield, Pace is surely going to make a move for a third back.  We’ll just have to be patient and see what that move is.

As for Jordan Howard, this was a kid, that while playing in college, was a part of a UAB Blazers program that got shut down in 2014.  Howard gathered himself, became a member of the Indiana Hoosiers football team for one season and racked up over 1200 rushing yards, and ran for 6.2 yards a carry.  So if you are one of those wondering how this will all “affect” Jordan Howard – he will be just fine.