Khalil Herbert

NFC North Rumors: Tom, Bears, Vikes, Lions

This offseason, Zach Tom loomed as a challenger for either the Packerscenter or right tackle spots. While it is not known just yet where the second-year blocker will end up, it looks like his playing time will increase. Tom is going to end up starting, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic notes (subscription required). A fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest, Tom started five of the nine games he played last season and saw time at four of the five O-line positions (all but center). Tom did start at center for the Demon Deacons, however, playing there and at left tackle in college. Former second-round pick Josh Myers has been the Packers’ primary center over the past two seasons. Should Tom land at right tackle, Yosh Nijman — whom the team gave a second-round RFA tender this offseason — would be on track to be a backup.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • The Bears‘ running back race is still too early to call, but The Athletic’s Adam Jahns and Kevin Fishbain posit that Khalil Herbert is the current frontronner. David Montgomery‘s top backup last season, Herbert flashed when available. The former sixth-round pick averaged 5.7 yards per carry, helping the Bears lead the league in rushing. With Montgomery now in Detroit, the Bears have held a three-man competition — between Herbert, UFA pickup D’Onta Foreman and fourth-rounder Roschon Johnson — to replace him. Even if Herbert wins the starter gig, Chicago’s run-oriented attack will likely require regular workloads from multiple backs.
  • Veteran running back Mike Davis stopped through Minneapolis for a recent Vikings workout, Tom Pelissero of tweets. Minnesota, which is all set to complete a Dalvin Cook-to-Alexander Mattison transition, recently auditioned Kareem Hunt as well. Beyond Mattison, the Vikings roster Ty Chandler (2022, Round 5) and DeWayne McBride (2023, Round 7) as their top backfield options. Davis, 30, spent last season with the Ravens but did not carve out much playing time — even for a team reeling at running back. He fared better with the Panthers and Falcons in 2020 and 2021, respectively, combining for 1,145 rushing yards in that span.
  • Byron Murphy played a versatile role for the Cardinals, lining up in the slot and outside. The Vikings are planning to capitalize on Murphy’s slot experience, with’s Kevin Seifert noting the free agency pickup will move inside when the team shifts to its nickel package. With nickel and dime sets now more common than base alignments, Murphy should be expected to see plenty of slot work in Minnesota.
  • A 2022 second-round pick, Andrew Booth has not made a strong case to move into the starting lineup alongside Murphy. The Clemson product is running Akayleb Evans, a 2022 fourth-rounder, along with Joejuan Williams and rookie third-rounder Mekhi Blackmon. Williams and Blackmon look to be competing for the CB3 role, The Athletic’s Alec Lewis adds, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling notes the rookie is believed to be ahead of the former Patriots second-rounder. Evans, who played 162 defensive snaps last season, has spent the most time with the first team of this group. The Vikings have rebooted at corner, letting both Patrick Peterson and slot Chandon Sullivan walk in free agency.
  • Danielle Hunter‘s reworked deal calls for a $20.95MM cap hit, and although this is now a contract year for the veteran defensive end, two void years remain on the deal (Twitter links via Goessling and ESPN’s Field Yates). Hunter’s $3MM in incentives are classified as not likely to be earned, per Goessling. The void years would leave the Vikings with a $14.9MM dead-money hit if they do not re-sign Hunter before the 2024 league year begins. Void years led to the Vikings taking a $7.5MM dead-money hit when Dalvin Tomlinson left in free agency this year.
  • While Teddy Bridgewater secured $2.5MM guaranteed from the Lions,’s Howard Balzer tweets the veteran QB’s Lions deal is worth $3MM in base value. The Lions used a void year, keeping the cap number at $2.66MM.

“Real Competition” Expected For Bears’ RB1 Role

The Bears made an effort to retain longtime starting running back David Montgomery this offseason, but Montgomery eschewed the club’s offer and elected to join the division-rival Lions. Chicago then added D’Onta Foreman to the RB room in free agency and selected Roschon Johnson in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune believes that there will be a “real competition” for the RB1 role, with incumbent Khalil Herbert, Foreman, and Johnson all having a legitimate shot to land the gig.

Herbert, a 2021 sixth-round choice, has flashed plenty of promise during his first two professional seasons, mostly working as a complement to Montgomery. Over 30 games (three starts), Herbert has accumulated 1,164 rushing yards on 232 totes, which represents a sparkling 5.0 yards-per-carry average. He has added 23 catches for 153 yards and has scored seven total touchdowns.

Foreman, meanwhile, has taken a little longer to realize his potential. A third-round pick of the Texans in 2017, Foreman had a decent showing in his first year in the NFL (78 carries for 327 yards and two TDs), but a torn Achilles cut his rookie season short and forced him to miss most of 2018. He was waived in advance of the 2019 season, with poor work habits reportedly accelerating his departure from Houston.

After sitting out all of 2019, Foreman caught on with the Titans’ practice squad in September 2020 and ultimately appeared in six games for Tennessee that year. In 2021, he got his first extended opportunity to shine since he was a rookie, as he carried the ball 133 times for 566 yards (4.3 YPC) as an injury replacement for Derrick Henry.

Foreman signed with the Panthers last March, and following the Christian McCaffrey trade in October, Foreman became Carolina’s feature back. He ended the 2022 season with 203 carries for 914 yards (4.5 YPC) and five touchdowns and was rumored to be a hot commodity should he and the Panthers fail to agree to a new contract before free agency opened this year.

Of course, Foreman and Carolina did not come to terms on a new deal, so the Texas product became a free agent once again. While the suppressed running back market and his lack of receiving prowess limited him to a one-year, $2MM contract with the Bears, he is well-positioned to have a sizable role in Chicago’s offense, even if he is not the official starter.

Johnson, another Texas alumnus, enjoyed a 5.6 YPC average over his four years with the Longhorns. It stands to reason that he would start his career behind Herbert and Foreman on the depth chart, though Biggs believes Johnson’s draft status puts him firmly in the mix to receive the lion’s share of the carries right out of the gate.

The Bears’ heavy investment into their running attack this offseason did not stop at Foreman and Johnson. Chicago also added Travis Homer in free agency, and the club is still rostering 2022 sixth-rounder Trestan Ebner. While Ebner, who carried the ball 24 times for 54 yards last year, would be hard-pressed to earn many rushing attempts if the Herbert/Foreman/Johnson/Homer quartet remains healthy, Biggs believes the second-year pro could nonetheless retain a roster spot due to his receiving and special teams abilities.

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/23/22

Today’s minor moves heading into the NFL’s largest slate of Saturday games of the season:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

  • Promoted from practice squad: G Kyle Hinton

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Minor NFL Transactions: 12/20/22

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

  • Signed off Chiefs practice squad: LB Elijah Lee
  • Designated for return: RB Khalil Herbert (story)
  • Released: CB Justin Layne

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Caleb Huntley suffered a season-ending Achilles injury this past weekend, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). The injury is expected to require surgery. The Falcons RB made his NFL this season and has collected 369 yards from scrimmage.

While Russell Wilson is expected to start for the Broncos on Christmas, the Broncos still decided to promote a third QB to the roster in Jarrett Guarantano. According to Troy Renck of Denver7 (on Twitter), there was enough interest from other teams (including the Cardinals) for the Broncos to decide to promote the rookie. The UDFA out of Washington State had his first professional gig with the Cardinals before catching on with the Broncos.

Bears RB Khalil Herbert Expected To Return In Week 16; Latest On RG Teven Jenkins

Week 16 is set to bring about both positive and negative developments for the Bears’ offense from a health perspective. Running back Khalil Herbert is expected to make his return from injured reserve, per head coach Matt Eberflus.

Herbert has been sidelined for the past four games due to a hip injury. The timing of his IR placement made him eligible to to be activated in Week 15 at the earliest, which did not take place. The team made it clear that his injury was not expected to be season-ending, however, so a return in time for their Christmas Eve contest against the Bills would not come as a surprise.

The 2021 sixth-rounder flashed potential as a rookie when he totaled 529 scrimmage yards while playing a complimentary role to starter David Montgomery. He has taken a considerable step forward in 2022, posting 643 rushing yards at an average of 6.0 per carry, scoring four touchdowns on the ground. He has added 62 yards and another score in the passing game, making him an important member of Chicago’s league-leading rushing attack.

Especially with Montgomery approaching free agency, Herbert could soon be in line for an even larger workload in the near future. A return to the field would allow him to resume his impressive campaign, while providing the team with another rushing option to take some of the workload off of quarterback Justin Fields, something which should be a welcomed sight (though he has stated an intention of trying to break Lamar Jackson‘s single-season rushing record after becoming just the third QB to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark on Sunday).

In other injury news, right guard Teven Jenkins is in danger of missing the remainder of the season. The 24-year-old was carted off the field with a neck injury during the team’s loss to the Eagles. While Eberflus described the situation as “encouraging” after he was released from hospital yesterday, he added that it remains to be seen if Jenkins will be available for the final three games of the year.

“We’ll see,” Eberflus said, via the Associated Press, when asked about the former second-rounder. “We’ll see. I don’t know yet. I don’t know. All those injury reports will come out… or we’ll know more as time goes. But that’s where it is right now.”

After an underwhelming rookie season which led to trade talks and a shift from tackle to guard, the Oklahoma State product has enjoyed a more successful campaign in 2022. Jenkins has registered a PFF grade of 80.0, which ranks fourth amongst all qualifying guards. His loss would thus be a notable one if he is indeed unable to play again this year.

Bears Place RB Khalil Herbert On IR, Claim CB Justin Layne

The Bears’ first-place rushing attack will need to get by without one of its pillars in the coming weeks. Khalil Herbert is heading to IR, according to’s Field Yates (on Twitter).

A hip injury will sideline Herbert, who has played a major role in Chicago’s backfield in his second pro season. He must miss at least four games. The Bears also added cornerback Justin Layne via waiver claim. The Giants waived Layne on Monday. Matt Eberflus does not view Herbert’s injury has season-ending, per the Chicago Sun-Times’ Patrick Finley (on Twitter). The earliest Herbert can return is Week 15.

Chosen in last year’s sixth round, Herbert has already smashed his rookie-year rushing total. Despite not taking as many handoffs as starter David Montgomery, the elusive backup has 643 rushing yards — at an eye-catching six yards per carry. Montgomery, who has totaled 115 carries to Herbert’s 108, has amassed just 434 yards. The Bears will need to lean on their starter more, though having a quarterback amid one of the all-time great QB rushing seasons will help. Justin Fields leads the Bears with 749 rushing yards.

Among non-quarterbacks, Herbert’s 6.0 yards per carry ties Tony Pollard atop the NFL. Being on pace for more than 1,000 yards despite not starting, the Kansas and Virginia Tech product has displayed the potential to be a long-term Fields complementary piece.

Though buoyed largely by Fields’ recent run-game dominance, the Bears’ near-400-yard lead on the rest of the NFL in rushing (201.7 yards per game) has also featured extensive Herbert contributions. The second-year back’s emergence likely will factor into how the Bears proceed with Montgomery, who is one of many starter-caliber backs set to hit free agency in March. No known Montgomery extension talks have taken place.

Layne has continued to generate interest, despite not seeing much time at cornerback. The Steelers drafted Layne in Round 3 in 2019; he has played 156 career defensive snaps. The Giants claimed him following cutdown day in August but used him on just 11 defensive snaps during his half-season New York stay. But the Michigan State alum has been a special teams regular throughout his career. Layne would stand to impact the Bears on this front. His rookie contract expires at season’s end.

Bears Sign Four More Draft Picks

The Bears have inked the majority of their draft class to contracts. The team announced that they’ve signed fifth-round tackle Larry Borom, sixth-round running back Khalil Herbert, sixth-round receiver Dazz Newsome, and sixth-round cornerback Thomas Graham Jr.. We passed along the signing of seventh-round nose tackle Khyiris Tonga earlier today.

Borom is the most notable name on the list, as the Missouri product started 19 of his 33 games over the past three seasons. He’ll likely serve as a backup to Elijah Wilkinson on the right side, although he has the versatility to play all over the offensive line. Herbert was also a notable pick after collecting 2,918 rushing yards in 46 college games, including 1,183 yards in 11 games for Virginia Tech last year. He’ll compete for a spot as backup to David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen.

While Newsome got his first NFL contract today, it’s not all good news for the rookie. We learned earlier today that the rookie wideout broke his collarbone in practice on Tuesday. Fortunately, it was a clean break for the sixth-rounder, meaning Newsome should be good to go by the start of training camp.

With the signing, the Bears now only have a pair of unsigned draft picks: first-round quarterback Justin Fields and second-round tackle Teven Jenkins.