Report: Josh Jacobs would love to play for Bears
Gary Vasquez - USA Today Sports

Report: Josh Jacobs would love to play for Bears

by - Correspondent -

Recently, there has been speculation that running back Josh Jacobs is interested in becoming a Chicago Bear, and that interest is “mutual,” with Chicago also open to acquiring Jacobs.

This news started on ESPN’s 1000 Chicago Bears Podcast where former fullback Jason McKie stated that Jacobs “would love to be in a Chicago Bears uniform.” Since McKie has the same agent as Jacobs, there would appear to be something to this statement. But, is this something Chicago could really do?

Running back Khalil Herbert was expected to take the role of starting running back after releasing David Montgomery following the 2022 season. However, Herbert showed he is not capable of being the No. 1 back while rookie Roschon Johnson is also not yet at that level. D’Onta Foreman had some good games too, but the Bears are still lacking that powerful back and Jacobs could fill that void.

Financially, this is certainly something the Bears can afford. General manager Ryan Poles has shown a tendency to make smart contract moves, something further demonstrated with the contract extension given to cornerback Jaylon Johnson. His cap hit is only $13 million for the 2024 season, over $5.5 million less than the franchise tag was. In addition, his cap hit never exceeds $21 million.

Because of this setup, Chicago has $63.5 million left in cap space for the 2024 season and a considerable amount of money for future seasons. According to Spotrac, with how Jacobs has performed and the average salary of other running backs of similar age and similar performance, Jacobs should get a three year contract for approximately $10.6 million per year. With $63.5 million left in cap space, giving Jacobs $10.6 million per year is very much affordable.

The true question is then, is Jacobs the running back Chicago should go after?

There are a number of things playing in Jacobs’ favor. First, he is only 26 years old and has shown how strong of a running back he is. This is especially true of the 2022 season where he had over 2,000 scrimmage yards, was an All-Pro and Pro-Bowler and finished No. 5 in voting for AP Offensive Player of the Year. However, last season was probably his worst season with only 805 rushing yards and a career-low of six touchdowns.

This free agency class of running backs is also one of the strongest in a long time with Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley, Tony Pollard and Austin Ekeler all becoming free agents at the start of the new league. Jacobs is the youngest of these players, although he was fourth in rushing yards among these players; Ekeler is the only one who had less with 628 rushing yards.

Speculation has also swirled about the potential for the Bears to go after Barkley. While he is a year older than Jacobs, he had more rushing yards despite having an arguably worse quarterback situation with three different starting quarterbacks throughout the season. The biggest downside with Barkley is that he is constantly injured and has missed at least one game every season since 2019.

Henry is coming off the strongest season out of any of these running backs, but is also the oldest of the five since he is the only one who is 30 years or older. He has taken a lot of hits during his career, but nonetheless continues to put up solid production despite being the center of the offense with the Tennessee Titans. Further, he does not have the injury history some of these other running backs have.

All in all, with a strong running back class, there are different options and considerations for who the Bears should go after. However, they should go after one of these backs to enhance their running game and continue to build their offense. There certainly seems to be something to the claim of “mutual interest” between the Bears and Jacobs, but things can change constantly in the NFL and anything is on the table at this point.

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