Mike Davis is in the dark regarding his Bears future beyond this week, when the team could cut ties by Saturday with its third-string veteran running back – less than eight months after signing him to a two-year, $6 million contract – and recoup a fourth-round compensatory draft pick in 2020, according to overthecap.com comp selection specialist Nick Korte.
Davis, who entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, has been in somewhat similar situations before. He referred Tuesday to his time early on in Seattle, where he landed after being waived after only two years with the Niners, as “brutal” because he wasn’t getting on the field.
“It was just mental, me loving the game and not being able to play and help my teammates, it really put me in a dark place to where I really hated a lot of things,” Davis said. “But that’s what you have family for, to help you get out of those tough situations. It was kind of brutal.”
For better or worse, that puts Davis in more familiar territory this week than Ryan Pace, who was hired as Bears general manager a few months before Davis entered the NFL yet hasn’t earned a compensatory draft pick in his first four years of running the team’s personnel department. Not that his predecessors Phil Emery or Jerry Angelo were much better in that regard – the Bears haven’t had a compensatory pick since 2009.
That fact, paired with Davis’ lack of playing time and the surprising number of offseason needs for a 3-5 team that expected to compete for a Super Bowl this season and has minimal draft capital in April after the Khalil Mack and David Montgomery trades, has put the spotlight squarely this week on Pace, Davis and the NFL transaction wire.
Well, not everyone’s attention.
“I feel like thinking of something like that is negative. I really don’t care about outside voices or whatever comes with it,” Davis said. “All I can do is show up every day, be a great teammate and be ready to go, no matter what happens.”
The ultimate question is, of course, whether this scenario has the attention of Pace, Nagy and a Bears franchise that previously hadn’t shown any interest in participating in the NFL’s compensatory pick formula.
We haven’t heard from Pace since July, but Nagy repeatedly has praised Davis of late when pressed on why a player whom the team had big plans for has only 18 touches for 47 yards on the season, and only three touches for 7 yards since Week 3.
“He’s doing everything right. Mike Davis has done nothing to not be able to get the ball. It’s just, we’ve got to get better in the run game,” Nagy said after the loss to the Saints, when he called a franchise-low seven rush attempts.
The Bears have to get better, period. With all due respect, keeping Davis on the roster – never mind for a moment the comp pick, but even at the expense of younger, more talented practice squad-eligible backs in Kerrith Whyte and Ryan Nall – ain’t the way to do it.
If the Saturday deadline to waive Davis passes with him still on the roster, it’ll mark, unofficially, another loss for a franchise that already has as many as last season at the halfway point of the season. But if the Bears make the difficult but absolutely correct business decision, they can do it with confidence that a class act in Davis will land on his feet.
“I always told myself that I would never go back to that place again,” said Davis, again referencing his time in Seattle. “So I’ll always keep a smile on my face; I’ll always be upbeat no matter the situation.”