Mike Davis was in the dark regarding his Bears’ future this week, when the team had until Saturday to cut ties 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 20 20, according to overthecap.com comp selection specialist Nick Korte.
Davis is in the dark no longer.
After entering the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick with the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, this isn't his first time being waived. He referred Tuesday to his time early on in Seattle, where he landed after being cut following 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 during open locker room. “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 put 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 — and Pace's decision Saturday marks a philosophical shift for the franchise.
That fact, paired with Davis’ lack of playtime 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 following the Khalil Mack and David Montgomery trades, 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 everyday, be a great teammate and be ready to go, no matter what happens.”
We haven’t heard from Pace since July, but Nagy has repeatedly 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 3 and 7, respectively, 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 following the loss to the Saints, when he called a franchise-low seven rush attempts.
Ultimately, of course, Pace and Nagy correctly showed Saturday that it would do what it could to make a previous mistake right.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 it.
That the Bears' transaction Saturday signals a win in a season too short on them really speaks for itself. But their difficult, absolutely correct business decision at least should have been made with confidence that a class act in Davis will land on his feet — perhaps even with a more competitive team and/or in a more prominent role.
"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."