In the broad scope of the running back market these days, David Montgomery can probably consider himself one of the lucky ones. He got a three-year, $18 million deal from the Detroit Lions in March, with $11 million in total guaranteed money and a $4.5 million signing bonus. Even with that, it's only a firm two-year commitment by the Lions.
Based on his age (he turned 26 in June), and entering his fifth season, Montgomery is probably already on the back side of his peak usefulness as an NFL running back. His workload, with 915 carries and 1,070 touches over his four seasons with the Chicago Bears, straddles the line of being too much or having plenty of tread left on the tires. In any case, the Lions are in line to get plenty or production from him over the next two or three years. After that, who knows?
David Montgomery laments how running backs are so devalued in today's NFL
Via the team website, Montgomery talked glowingly about his time thus far as a Lion after Tuesday's practice. He was not part of the Zoom summit recently organized by Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, but a natural topic for reporters talking to Montgomery is the depressed value of his position.
Here's what Montgomery had to say about the issues in the running back market, via John Maakaron of SI.com/All Lions:
""It's a topic all around the league. It's unfortunate how we're valued, just knowing what we're capable of and what we can bring to the table for our team....we take a lot of beatings. "- David Montgomery
Montgomery shifted the focus to what young running backs can do to change the dynamic of how the position is valued by NFL teams. On that note, Lions general manager Brad Holmes recently referred to rookie Jahmyr Gibbs as a positionless weapon during an appearance on Peter Schrager's podcast.
"The best ability is availability," Montgomery said. "So, you want to just be available in every way that you can. Try not to limit yourself and what you're capable of doing. Just try to be sure that you can do multitudes of things. So, you know, catching the ball, getting out of the backfield and being available is one thing.” "- David Montgomery
Montgomery was rumored to have had multiple teams interested in him when he hit free agency in March. He got his three-year deal with the Lions very quickly when they pivoted from Jamaal Williams. None of those things (multiple teams interested, a multi-year deal, getting signed quickly) should make him any kind of outlier, taken together or separately. But among his position peers, in a depressed running back market, he pretty much was.