The Chicago Bears are set to bring back their top three running backs from 2017.
A source tells Joel Erickson of the New Orleans Advocate that Benny Cunningham has agreed to terms that will keep him in Chicago.
Erickson reports that Cunningham visited with the New Orleans Saints on Monday. And even though the Saints have the two-headed monster backfield of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, the team had its eyes on Cunningham competing for the third running back position. It wasn’t meant to be, as Cunningham returns for a second season in Chicago.
I suppose this tweet from Cunningham could serve as confirmation of Erickson’s report:
— Benny Cunningham (@BennyCunningham) April 2, 2018
Cunningham played on 17.7 percent of the Bears’ offensive snaps and carried the ball just nine times in 2017. So while he wasn’t much of a factor on offense, he still carved out a role as the team’s third-down/pass-catching back and the offense’s top running back option in the two-minute drill. Cunningham caught 20 passes for 240 yards and scored two touchdowns. He was also a key cog on special teams, playing on 54.7 percent of the third phase’s snaps. However, his yards per kick return were at a career-low 21.0 in 2017 and was limited to just seven attempts.
Cunningham joins Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and Taquan Mizzell as the only running backs currently on the Bears’ roster. The Bears signed Cunningham a year ago to provide a boost to the special teams unit and bring a pass-catching dynamic out of the backfield. It’s very easy to see him return to that role in Chicago, even though it will be under a different coach.