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A number of Bears fans are not so happy about the Jordan Howard trade

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Checking in on the other side.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

It’s safe to say Philadelphia Eagles fans are pretty excited about the Jordan Howard trade. Just look at how Bleeding Green Nation voters have graded the deal so far:

It’s also safe to say Chicago Bears fans are not so fired up about their favorite team’s side of the deal. Here’s what the reaction over at SB Nation’s Bears blog — Windy City Gridrion — looks like.

Posted by ChicagoCrazy18: What confuses me the most is the hole that was created by the trade. Now we are relying on 2 gadget players (Cohen, Patterson), a guy with a 3.7 YPC average (Davis), and an unknown draftee. Howard should have been kept around for this year and now we have a gaping hole at RB, one that we created. Unreal. [...] I don’t see how this helps the team now. A 6th-round 2020 pick? For a guy already in the top 7 Bears rushers EVER? When the running game goes out the window, we’ll know what happened. Congratulations Pace. You played yourself.

Posted by TampaBearsFan: A 2020 6th? That is BS. He could have played this season and got us a comp pick by signing with another team. I doubt this is on Pace… remember people… Pace drafted this guy. This is a reflection on Nagy, he couldn’t fit a really good RB into his offensive system. I really hate this move. Howard recently said he would have been the best RB3 in the NFL if the Bears brought more guys in. You want guys like Howard on your team. I am beyond upset at betting the equivalent of a 7th rounder. Philly phleeced us, no doubt. [...] A future 6th rounder ... is equivalent to a current 7th. Horrible trade. His comp pick value could have possibly netted a 5th rounder… or nothing.. but I would prefer to take that gamble than to give him away. I am pissed… how can Howard fit the Eagles system but not the Bears? We just got pantsed.

Posted by Waddle Wannabe: I’m extremely upset. Jordan Howard is a stud. I have been very happy with Nagy, but his inability to use Howard effectively is a big mark against him in my opinion. I know plenty of guys have stated that it doesn’t make sense to change the system to fit Howard, but I still can’t wrap my head around him refusing to find a roll for someone of Howard’s ability. Obviously I am just a fan, not an NFL coach, but this really bums me out. It takes away some of my excitement for the new steady.

Posted by NickBadger52: What a crap return. I mean that’s damn near nothing. It might be professional courtesy. If he was going to be the odd man out going into a contract year it’s probably best to let him earn a pay day.

Posted by KevinWhite’sCerebrum: Tough to call this a win-win. A sixth rounder for Howard is terrible value.

Posted by TJGOBIG: 6th rd pick in 2020 is absolutely pathetic. Why trade him at all. They better have something planned and it better impress me.

Posted by Dils: Hey if some don’t think Howard was a good fit...fine. If some want to bend over backwards to say that the Bears were lucky to get something for him because of how the position is now valued…fine. But I wish people would stop acting like the Bears just traded Michael Bush or Kevin Jones. This is the 3rd most productive RB in the league 3 years in and that’s including a year where he was basically phased out. I’m not worried about compensation. I’m worried about a coach possibly being so firm about fit into his offense that he’s willing to remove productive players off of his roster. I only wish he and Pace were as proactive about their kicking game as they were phasing out Howard and making sure White didn’t dress on Sundays. There is no reason that Jordan Howard couldn’t be a part of what the Bears are trying to do in 2019. All I have to say is that you better replace him in the draft. Because Cohen and Davis is not enough.

Posted by ChanHawk: I think the roster is objectively worse than it was last season. [...] I’m so sick of losing to the Eagles

Posted by CaptainAzpi: Unbelievable. Wtf is wrong with the Bears? How the hell do you let one of the best RB in the league go for a 6th round pick 2 drafts away?!?!?! Eagles having their way with the bears again. Hall, Jeffrey, triple doink and now our best RB?!?! What, does their GM have Pace’s nudes or something? Complete and utter BS. Rant over

Posted by lexustech48: Im not sure I understand the logic... I dont project myself as a GM, or even someone who could make real decisions regarding players on an NFL team. But this seems like we gave JoHo away for nothing. Im not saying the man was going to net us a 1st or 2nd rounder in return but my God, a 6th? Id rather have him on the roster for next year and just let him go in FA for the 2020 season. Unless we find the next Antonio Brown with the trade pick, its just… odd. Something doesnt make sense here.

Posted by KTB62: This pisses me off. I friggin’ hate that they felt the need to trade him. And for a 6th round pick in 2020?!? Bullcrap. This is Greg Olsen all over again…..

Posted by Snowdrifter: This is a bad trade. You don’t get better by subtracting talent. Nagy should have figured out a better way to use Howard. I predict the Bears will take a step backwards this year. Fangio is gone and I don’t think much of Nagy as a head coach. I hope I’m wrong.

Posted by AbuAkil: The is Mike Marty level stupidity... I understand Nagy having the feeling that JoHo does not fit his obviously strict, rigid scheme. I get it… but you get rid of a good running back because he doesn’t fit your scheme, because you refuse to change his hit point when you call plays in the running game…& mixing in outside zone runs, which greatly benefit play action and are perfect for a mobile QB like Mitch Trubisky is NEXT level scheme stubbornness… what’s worse is you give him away for little to damn nothing… this is a problem. This is not quite Greg Olsen stupidity, but damn close… & coaches who will not adjust their scheme because they are married to it never get to the level of greatness of those that do, I.e. Belicheck, Parcells, etc.

Some more reaction from the Bears’ subreddit:

Top comment by Jemiidar: oof. we helped an NFC playoff contending team get better and all we got was a 5/6th rounder?

Posted by joshfluckelberg313: Feel like we now got triple doinked by the Eagles

Posted by jewbauca: I don’t think people realize how good Howard really is, huge loss.

Posted by ScruffMixHaha: Yikes. I knew his value wasnt high, but for a 6th id rather just keep him for one more year.

Now, this isn’t to suggest that all Bears fans hate this trade for Chicago. WCG writer Robert Zeglinski called this deal a “win-win” for both teams.

Philadelphia needed a situational runner such as Howard, and the Eagles’ coaching staff has experience in integrating such players into an offense. The Bears meanwhile salvage some measure of value for a player in the last year of his rookie contract. A player many surmised they would’ve released before the open of the 2019 season anyway. If there were a better offer, general manager Ryan Pace and company would’ve readily snatched it. What is also abundantly clear is that Howard’s eventual #RevengeGame against the Bears in Philadelphia next season should be a doozy. Running backs are still valuable in the modern NFL. They can play a role in a successful and diverse offense if used properly. But teams like the Bears are increasingly treating them like a dime a dozen. If you can find a Howard in the fifth round, like the Bears did and so many organizations do every April, you can assuredly try, try again.

Some WCG commenters defended the deal for the Bears as well.

Posted by Peanut Sweetness: The reality is that Jordan Howard was overvalued after Year 1. He fit into John Fox’s scheme, because John Fox fed him the ball, and that’s what Jordan howard needs. We upgraded our scheme into the 21st century, and required running backs with more versatility. Mike Davis made Howard redundant, and also brings an additional dimension. His arrow is pointing up, Howard’s is pointing down. I can’t think of a team trending towards the type of offense that Jordan Howard thrives in. This means that his value was likely never at 3rd/4th round pick level. If this move nets us a pick next year and a 3rd OLB/and or Kicker with this extra cap space, then I’m happy. It’s so easy to overvalue and project our own players, especially those who perform well early in their careers. I think that this is precisely what happened with Jordan Howard.

Posted by Robert Schmitz: Jordan Howard was abjectly terrible in 2018. And while I want to consider his 2016 and 2017 seasons, I can’t. Because that was a different offense playing to different strengths against defenses that played them differently. Nagy runs a spread out offense that relies on misdirection and speed to get players into space with the ability to make a play. Howard functions well in offenses that allow him to carry the ball multiple times, feel out the defense, and use patience to pick the right holes. While theoretically you could simply switch up your styles on a play-to-play basis, that’s not how teams work. You have one team that runs one offensive style. Howard conflicted with that style, and you could see it in his play. It sucks to say, but Howard simply played badly in 2018. He didn’t like our offense and it didn’t seem to like him either. He was slow getting through holes and left multiple TDs on the field that a more balanced back would’ve picked up. He belongs in another offense, so now he’s a part of one.

Posted by Trubisky Deep Balls: Something I think that is being lost in this conversation: The final 5 games of the season, where the running scheme was tailored to what Jordan Howard does best (outside zone) and Howard finally “got going”, Howard rushed for 76, 101, 60, 53, and 109 yards, for a total of 399 yards and 4.53 yards per carry on 88 carries. The other 11 games, he had 536 yards on 162 carries (3.3 yard per carry). In those 5 games, the Bears averaged 20.8 points per game, which would’ve been 24th on the whole season. In the other 11 games where Nagy ran his rushing and passing offense regardless of Howard’s presence, the Bears averaged 28.8 points per game, which would’ve had them at #4 for the entire season. Face it, guys and gals. In order for this offense and this team to take the next step, we need a back who fits the scheme naturally and doesn’t need to be accommodated. I know the Olsen situation gave us PTSD with Martz’s refusal to fit a square peg in a round whole, but I think this is different. Jordan Howard’s presence in this offense holds the team back.

Posted by luvfoozball: Jordan Howard ranked 38th out of 47 qualifying running backs in rushing DVOA, 49/53 in receiving DVOA in 2018-19. In 2017-18, he was 10/47 in rushing DVOA and 60/62 in receiving DVOA. So he is steadily declining in rushing for marginal improvements in receiving. Top 5 running back though. RBs are highly replaceable, and running backs that can’t catch aren’t even worth replacing.

I think I can understand both sides here. It’s not surprising that Bears fans are upset about trading away a young, productive player for very little in return. Howard’s put up real good volume numbers over the last three years.

At the same time, Howard’s efficiency has consistently decreased. He was available for so cheap for a reason and it’s not just because the Bears are clueless.

We’ll have more WCG insight on Howard and his Bears career coming up at Bleeding Green Nation either today or tomorrow [UPDATE: CLICK HERE for that insight]. In the meantime, I thought it was interesting to see how the other side of the trade was reacting.