The Chicago Bears have a busy offseason ahead, but one important decision on a key player still hangs in the balance.

Bears running back David Montgomery has been a valuable piece on the field and inside the locker room. At 25 years old, he has already emerged as one of the team’s leaders.

However, Montgomery is set to become a free agent this spring, leaving general manager Ryan Poles with one of his most difficult decisions since being hired.

According to Spotrac, Montgomery’s market value is projected to be just north of $7 million per year. It would put him in line with running backs under similar deals such as James Conner and Leonard Fournette.

The running back position has lost value over the last decade due to the NFL’s transition into more of a pass dominant league. However, Montgomery’s production in Chicago is impossible to ignore.

In four seasons with Chicago, Montgomery has totaled 3,609 rushing yards and 26 rushing touchdowns. His best season came in 2020 with career highs in rush yards (1,070) and touchdowns (8).

The Bears are left with a choice to either retain Montgomery, who will account for a chunk of the team’s cap space, or find a cheaper replacement through the draft or free agency.

Khalil Herbert served as the Bears’ change of pace back, but at five-foot-nine he doesn’t offer the physicality required to earn the tough yards in between the tackles.

Re-signing Montgomery provides stability to the Bears’ run-first offensive identity. With over $115 million in salary cap space this offseason, surely Poles can find it within the budget to bring back a key contributor to Chicago’s young core.

Featured image via Matt Marton – USA TODAY Sports

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