After years of tandem backfields, the old-school practice of employing a primary rusher is making a comeback. Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, and Josh Jacobs demonstrate the gap between most running backs and the NFL’s elite. 

Since parting ways with Matt Forte in 2015, the Chicago Bears have cycled through running backs on rookie deals. The constant wear and tear of the position and the availability of quality players make it risky to offer a large contract to a runner. 

After not extending David Montgomery, the cycle will continue with Khalil Herbert, D’Onta Foreman, and rookie Roschon Johnson making up the running back committee.

However, at least one of these players isn’t content with sharing the role. 

“I came here to try to be the guy,” Foreman told NBC Sports. “If I didn’t come here with that mentality, I’d be doing myself a disservice and doing the team a disservice.”

Foreman, a five-year NFL veteran, enjoyed his first season as a starter in 2022 after the Carolina Panthers traded McCaffrey to the 49ers. In 17 games, nine as a starter, Foreman compiled 914 yards and five touchdowns. Throughout his career, he has averaged over four yards per carry. 

Standing at an imposing 6 feet tall and weighing in around 235 pounds, Foreman possesses a rare combination of size and strength. His ability to power through defenders and gain extra yards after contact is truly exceptional. Foreman’s strength allows him to break tackles, push piles, and consistently earn positive yardage, even in the face of staunch opposition.

However, to earn the starting role in Chicago, Foreman will need to take reps away from Herbert, who already makes the team’s transition away from Montgomery palatable. Herbert led the lead in yards-per-carry last season and broke off more than one long run, something Montgomery hadn’t done in recent memory.

Both Herbert and Foreman will fend off the rookie in line for succession. 

Roschon Johnson, a fourth-round pick from this year’s draft, has sneaky-high potential. Were it not for his position behind Bijan Robinson at Texas, widely recognized as the top running back in the draft, Johnson would have garnered significant attention as a premier prospect. 

At 6 feet tall and weighing 219 pounds, he possesses the perfect physique for a forceful rusher who navigates the gaps between tackles. Moreover, Johnson looked great as a receiving back during his freshman year, prior to Robinson’s arrival, underscoring his versatility within the backfield.

Competition in the running back room is never a bad thing, especially when you don’t have to pay to get it. Both Herbert and Johnson are on rookie deals, while Foreman is playing on a one-year contract worth $1 million guaranteed. 

Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

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