There isn’t much a running back entering the final year of his contract can do in the modern era of the NFL. The position has been devalued by stars produced outside the first round who emerge as the league’s best while playing on an inexpensive rookie contract. That, plus the wear and tear a running back endures by his fourth season, and, understandably, general managers are hesitant to offer running backs a lucrative second contract.
For Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery, none of that matters. He’s entering the final year of his rookie deal and is set to earn just under $2.8 million in base early this season. His standing on the Bears’ roster is undeniable; he’s one of the team’s young leaders on offense and has quickly become the heartbeat of that side of the ball, but there’s been no indication from General Manager Ryan Poles that a new contract is coming.
“At the end of the day, whether I’m going into my second year or my first year, I’ve still got to play football and I still gotta perform,” Montgomery said from the Bears’ first voluntary minicamp. “I could really care less about contracts, the contract terms and things, but I’m excited to be here for another year and play with my guys too.”
Montgomery’s stance isn’t surprising. Since arriving at Halas Hall he’s been a team-first player as a third-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft. And despite challenging conditions on an offense that lacked any sense of identity under former head coach Matt Nagy, Montgomery managed to flash top-tier playmaking ability. With a new offensive system and a full season with quarterback Justin Fields in the starting lineup, the sky’s the limit for Montgomery’s upside.
In an injury-riddled 2021 season, Montgomery totaled 225 carries for 849 yards and seven touchdowns. He has 714 carries through his first three seasons and will be just 25 years old at the start of the 2022 regular season. With a lot of gas left in his proverbial tank, Montgomery is a good candidate for a contract extension. Just don’t bother asking him about it.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know what an extension is,” he said.