The Detroit Lions have chosen to upgrade their defense through the first two days of the legal tampering period, but their offense received an unexpected boost on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, March 14, it was revealed by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network that the Lions had reached an agreement to sign running back David Montgomery formally of the Chicago Bears.
“The Lions are signing former Bears RB David Montgomery, per sources,” Pelissero tweeted.
The deal? According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, a three-year pact worth $18 million for Montgomery with his former NFC North rival in Detroit.
“The Lions land one of the top backs on the market. It’s a 3-year deal worth $18M, source said,” Rapoport tweeted.
As might be expected, the news of a Montgomery deal hitting the internet sent some shockwaves through the Lions fanbase. While folks waited for news on Jamaal Williams, Montgomery signed, likely signaling the end of the Williams era in Detroit.
As Eazy from Woodward Sports tweeted, Williams was a great story for the Lions with solid energy, but Montgomery also brings it on the field.
“Jamaal Williams was one of the best storylines attached to the Detroit Lions. His energy will be missed, but make no mistake David Montgomery is a DAWG!,” he said in a tweet.
Analyst Damian Adams admitted in real-time that he liked the fit of Montgomery to the Lions, and it’s a sneaky move by the team.
“David Montgomery going to the Lions. That’s a sneaky great move by Detroit,” Adams wrote in a tweet.
As Lions’ radio voice Dan Miller tweeted, there will be a temptation for the fans to compare Montgomery and Williams, but fans have to realize the former is very talented while wishing the latter well.
“Anything you say about Montgomery will be met with a comparison to Williams. I get it. I’m a big David Montgomery fan though and hated when the Lions had to play against him. Love what Jamaal did for this organization. If this is it, wish him the absolute best,” Miller tweeted.
As Chuck Bass wrote, with D’Andre Swift already on the roster, the combination of him and Montgomery could be the best 1-2 punch in the NFL at the moment.
“If they are both healthy and have had their orange juice, D’Andre Swift and David Montgomery are probably the best 1-2 punch in the league. For. The. Moment,” Bass tweeted.
Indeed, the Lions have a chance to unleash Montgomery a bit more, which is something Larry McQuiston pointed out.
“David Montgomery in four seasons in Chicago behind a bad o-line: 60 games played. 915 Rushes, 3,609 yards, 3.9 average, 26 TDs, four FL155 receptions, 1240 yards, four TDs, two FL. Now imagine him behind a great o-line in Detroit,” McQuiston tweeted.
Fans won’t have to imagine it soon. Montgomery toting the rock in the backfield is the new reality they will have to get used to, even if it comes at the expense of a true franchise favorite.
David Montgomery’s Stats & Highlights
After being drafted into the league in 2019 as a third-round pick out of Iowa State, Montgomery wasted no time making an impact for Chicago.
As a rookie, Montgomery rushed for 889 yards and six touchdowns while adding 185 yards and one touchdown through the air. He would go on to have 1,070 yards and eight touchdowns in 2020, chipping in seven more scores in 2021.
In total, Montgomery has put up 3,609 yards and 26 rushing touchdowns, while adding 1,240 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He gives a team some solid pass catching as well as running.
Jamaal Williams Wanted Lions Return, Was ‘Far Apart’ on Deal
Fans had been waiting for news on Williams, but it’s clear with this announcement that the running back is likely to be moving on.
On Tuesday night, Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com provided an update on Williams. The Lions and their runner were far apart on a deal, and other teams were potentially lurking.
“Jamaal Williams update. Right now, the running back and #Lions are far apart on a deal. Several teams still in the mix: Bills, Bengals, even Panthers/Bears. #Bills mulling what to do with Devin Singletary. Hold-up right now is the RB market itself — top backs still waiting,” Dunne tweeted, later floating the possibility of the Jets getting involved thanks to Aaron Rodgers.
Speaking to Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com during the Super Bowl, Williams sent a message to Detroit’s front office. As he said at the time, he wanted to get an agreement done, stay long-term in Detroit and move forward so he can get back to the business of the game.
“I really just want to stay with Detroit, if I can. Really just stay here and make my mark here. I really want to finish (my career) here if I could. I understand it’s a business and the team has to do what’s best for them and I have to do what’s best for me, too, but I just really want us to come to a mutual agreement and just get it done and just get back to playing football,” Williams said in Twentyman’s piece.
The future of Williams has been a hot topic ever since the season concluded, with many opining that the Lions needed to prioritize a return for the running back, especially after his record-breaking season.
Williams was a major culture fit for the team’s locker room as well, given the passion he put toward being a Lions team leader.
Now, though, Montgomery is the new back in town, and it’s likely to come at the expense of Williams.