Squad impact of the Lions’ signing of RB David Montgomery

The Detroit Lions re-signed some of their key free agents and scored a few runs at cornerback, but on Tuesday night they moved to the offensive side of the ball to deliver their latest cannonball: running back David Montgomery to a three-year contract. .

Like Jamaal Williams – the player expected to replace Montgomery – Montgomery is a powerback who thrives between tackles. He is capable of playing all three downs, showing great hands as a receiver and solid efficiency as a pass guard. Montgomery is best known for his ability to break tackles and is currently one of the best in the league.

Per PFF, over his four seasons in the NFL (51 starts), Montgomery has broken 185 tackles, fifth most in the league at the time. According to Brett Whitefield, a friend of POD (Director of Fantasy Points Data), Montgomery tied for first in forced tackles last season, among all backs with 125+ carries.

Additionally, as Whitefield points out in the tweet above, the Bears had one of the worst offensive lines in football last season, while the Lions have one of the top units in the NFL. The combination of open holes and a runner who can not only get through but break tackles along the way should appeal to general manager Brad Holmes and coach Dan Campbell.

Montgomery will team up with D’Andre Swift in the Lions’ pack, starting in the backfield and forming a complementary thunder-and-lightning duo. The pair’s ability to stay on the court in all situations makes them situationally interchangeable, even though they are different back styles. That luxury of being able to open up your entire offensive playbook, regardless of which running back is on the field, is something that makes offensive coordinator Ben Johnson drool.

Don’t get too caught up in trying to project whether Montgomery or Swift is the “starter”: the way the Lions work, the expectation will be that the pair both see starter-level snaps.

Following Montgomery and Swift, Craig Reynolds, recently re-signed, is entering his third season with the team and is currently the team’s RB3. After Reynolds, Jermar Jefferson appears to be next in line, and while he flashed as a rookie, he only landed on the practice squad last season. Greg Bell injured his hip less than a week into his rookie season and spent the year on injured reserve. His contract still appears to be tied to the side, but there have been no updates on his status with the organization since the 2022 training camp.

With four, possibly five running backs on the roster, the Lions will want to add at least one or two more players to the league. Add to that the fact that Swift is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and the Lions could very well be looking for his replacement this season. Adding a player who can challenge Reynolds for the RB3 role and potentially replace Swift as a co-starter in 2023 is still on the table for the Lions.

So when could the Lions target a back in the draft?

I would say the talk of spending draft capital to select Bijan Robinson in the first round is probably over, but drafting back on Day 2 would certainly be a possibility. It’s also possible that the Lions are waiting until Day 3 and trying to develop a young back – and the post-draft UDFA market is typically full of diamonds in the rough worth bringing to camp.

As with most of Holmes’ signings this offseason, he filled a vacancy on the roster in free agency, but the support players in that position group are in a contractual situation that their replacements can be selected at any point in the draft if the value is over there.

read more

Leave a Comment