The 2018 NFL season was one of redemption for the Chicago Bears.
The team rose from last place to first place in the NFC North division, with the Bears establishing a powerful defense led by Khalil Mack, boasting an improved offense as second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky showed significant growth and gaining confidence under first-year head coach Matt Nagy.
However, as the team improved, it was not an easy season for running back Jordan Howard. The team seemed to de-emphasize his role in the offense, and it seems likely that the trend will continue in the future.
Howard ran for 1,313 yards as a rookie in 2016, and he followed that up with 1,122 rushing yards in 2017. However, his numbers were not as strong in 2018. He ran for 935 yards last year, and his yards per carry have dropped quite a bit in his three NFL season. He went from 5.2 yards per carry, to 4.1 and then 3.7.
With the Bears emphasizing the passing game more than the running game, it's not a surprise to hear that NFL teams are approaching the Bears about a trade for the running back.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted that multiple teams contacted the Bears during the recently completed Scouting Combine about acquiring Howard.
It does not seem that the power-running Howard is an ideal running back for Nagy's game plan. The Chicago head coach is most interested in backs that can make tacklers miss, instead of backs that run over tacklers.
"When you're dealing with running backs, in this offense, you want to be able to have a guy that has really good vision that can make guys miss," Nagy said, per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. "And at the same time, there's that balance of being a hybrid, being able to make things happen in the passing game, too, where you're not one-dimensional. That's not easy."
Three teams interested in Brown trade
Antonio Brown's name has been on the trade front for several weeks, and while a deal between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills appeared to be close to coming through during the week, Brown reportedly would not have agreed to the deal.
However, a deal may be at hand in the next day or two. Longtime Steelers reporter Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted that the Steelers were close to a deal Friday night and three teams were in the mix.
Brown has largely been considered as one of the elite receivers in the NFL for years, but his relationship with the team has fallen on hard times.
Brown has caught 100 passes or more in six straight seasons, and he caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdown receptions in 2018. It's clear that he remains a dangerous pass catcher.
Foles appears headed for Jaguars
When the league year begins March 13, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is likely to be one of the top free-agent names available.
The Eagles will not franchise him, and the Jacksonville Jaguars have been in the lead position for the quarterback who stepped in for injured starter Carson Wentz in 2017 and again last season.
Foles was able to lead the Eagles to postseason victories over the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings in 2017, and he then outdueled Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII as the Eagles vanquished the Patriots and won their first Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Foles also led the Eagles to a late-season playoff spot following the 2018 season, and they were able to defeat the Chicago Bears in the wild-card game before falling short in the divisional playoffs against the New Orleans Saints.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to be in the lead for Foles' services, as has been the case since the end of the season.
ESPN writer Dan Graziano reported that Foles would sign with Jacksonville barring any last-second fallout.
Schefter reported that Teddy Bridgewater of the New Orleans Saints was also a possible target for the Jaguars.
The Jaguars made it to the AFC title game following the 2017 season, but they fell to last place in the AFC South in 2018 with a 5-11 record.
If executive vice president Tom Coughlin believes the Jaguars can return to the form they had two years ago, Foles would appear to be the quarterback that would have the best chance to lead the team to postseason success.