The draft pick could become a fifth-rounder based on conditions of the trade that was completed Thursday night. Later that season Howard became the first Bears rookie running back to be voted to the Pro Bowl since Hall of Famer Gale Sayers in 1965.
The Eagles, meanwhile, have had a revolving door at running back recently, with five different leading rushers over the last five seasons.
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Howard is one of only four running backs with more than 2,000 yards over the past two seasons. In 2017, Howard went for 1,122 yards and nine scores on 4.1 yards per carry. An unrestricted free agent this offseason, Ajayi has not been re-signed.
Howard had put in extra work to improve his pass-catching before last season. But in addition to not being as quick or nifty as Davis (5-foot-9 and 217 pounds) and lacking the newcomer's track record in the passing game, Howard's stamina and better-with-a-lather style doesn't matter as much in Nagy's system - "not an offense where you're going to get 25-30 carries", the coach said.
Howard has had no fewer than his 250 carries in 2018 and has been established as a back who prefers and needs the kind of workload typically given to a true featured back. Given his recent production, it's fair to project Howard for just over seven touchdowns. Chicago ran inside zone on 44% of their running plays.
Word of the Bears' receptiveness to dealing Howard first surfaced this time a year ago with the Bears and Miami Dolphins linked in back-channel exploratory talks involving then-Dolphin wide receiver Jarvis Landry.