Latest On Bears RB Khalil Herbert

The Bears’ decision to let David Montgomery depart in free agency last offseason created a vacancy in the backfield. During the summer, signs pointed to Khalil Herbert taking over starting duties, but he could find himself in a much different roster situation in 2024.

The latter showed plenty of potential in 2022 with an average of 5.7 yards per carry. In Montgomery’s absence, Herbert logged three more carries in 2023 than he did the season prior, but his efficiency saw a notable decline (4.6 yards per attempt). Now entering the final year of his rookie contract, Herbert may need to use training camp to solidify a spot on the depth chart.

Adam Jahns and Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic note the 26-year-old could be on the roster bubble this summer (subscription required). With the Bears having been one of the most aggressive RB-needy teams in the league during free agency this offseason, Herbert’s path to a starting role has been eliminated. D’Andre Swift had a career year with the Eagles in 2023, and he parlayed that into a three-year, $24MM deal. The former Lion will be expected to handle a heavy workload in Chicago.

The Bears also have veterans Khari Blasingame and Travis Homer as depth options to consider alongside Swift, Herbert and Roschon Johnson. The latter was selected in the fourth round of last year’s draft, and he racked up 561 scrimmage yards while logging a 40% offensive snap share. Johnson could be in line for an uptick in usage, something which could come at the expense of Herbert’s opportunities.

The former sixth-rounder played a full season as a rookie, but he has missed a combined nine contests since then. Herbert served as the Bears’ kick returner in 2021, averaging 24.1 yards per return that year. After not seeing any special teams usage last season, Herbert’s ability to secure a spot could be tied to his third phase experience. As Jahns and Fishbain unsurprisingly note, much of the team’s final decision at the running back spot will likely come down to special teams contributions.

Herbert’s experience could make him attractive depth option if the Bears were to trade or release him, although an acquiring team would be adding him only for the 2024 campaign. Presuming Swift stays healthy and handles RB1 duties, Herbert’s free agent stock would take a hit ahead of a potential departure next spring.

View Comments (8)