Detroit Lions running back David Montgomery left OTA practice early with an injury, according to Tim Twentyman. Following the departure of Jamaal Williams in free agency, Montgomery is expected to play a significant role in Detroit next season. Who will step up in his absence?
What Happened to David Montgomery?
While the significance of Montgomery’s injury isn’t clear, it’s promising that he was able to walk off the field. Yet, the Lions must be concerned due to their notable investment in the 25-year-old running back.
Montgomery signed a three-year deal with Detroit worth $18 million with $11 million guaranteed. That’s a significant amount, considering Montgomery had arguably the worst statistical season of his career last year, rushing for just 801 yards in 16 starts.
It’s always interesting to see when NFL teams choose to invest heavily in a running back. But the signing of Montgomery was especially peculiar given his recent struggle with injuries. Over the last two seasons, he has missed multiple games due to ankle and knee injuries.
Not only did the Lions sign Montgomery to a decently sized contract in free agency, but they also continued to spend significant capital at the position in the 2023 NFL Draft. Detroit shocked many when they selected Jahmyr Gibbs with the 12th overall pick. They could be forced to rely heavily on Gibbs if Montgomery’s injury is significant.
Who Is Next Up at Running Back in Detroit?
It’s clear that Gibbs is next in line to shoulder the load at running back in Detroit. After letting Williams walk in free agency and trading D’Andre Swift to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions are ready to roll with a new group on the ground.
Gibbs is an explosive playmaker that is a threat to score every time that he touches the football. He has drawn comparisons to New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara. If Montgomery is forced to miss a significant amount of time, Gibbs could push for the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
Craig Reynolds would be elevated to the RB2 spot in this scenario and has shown promise over the last two seasons. Reynolds is a key contributor on special teams and has flashed when asked to run the ball. Still, there is another rookie running back in Detroit that is worth watching.
Mohamed Ibrahim surprisingly went undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. Many expected him to be a mid-Day 3 selection, but the Lions were able to sign him as an undrafted free agent. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Ibrahim win a roster spot and play a role as a rookie in Detroit.