Should Bears Trade Matt Forte?

Matt-Forte

With the NFL trade deadline fast approaching—Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 4 p.m. ET—there are plenty of rumors circulating throughout the league, and while pro football is nothing like baseball, where trades are often commonplace, there are some big names rumored to be available. One of those big names happens to be the Bears Matt Forte.

At first blush, Bears fans may balk at the idea of trading the best offensive weapon the team has. After all, as bad as the Bears offense has looked at times over the past couple of years, imagine just how ugly it would have been without No. 22. Yet, this is a team that is not going to win a title this year, nor in the very near future. In fact, by the time the Bears are ready to contend, there is a good chance that Forte will be gone anyway, one way or the other.

With that in mind, why not move him now before you lose him to free agency and get nothing in return?

The Bears should strike while the iron is hot. There are several teams in need of a running back, and the Bears have one of the more versatile backs in the league. Forte's ability to run is more than accentuated by his talent as a pass catcher coming out of the backfield. In 2015, Forte added 102 catches to the 1,038 yards he gained on the ground.

Yet those impressive stats cannot hide the fact that he will turn 30 in December. And while that's young to you and I, it is getting long in the tooth if you are an NFL running back. Plus, GM Ryan Pace has already shown he is willing to deal, even though he may not admit this is a rebuilding year. He has already gotten rid of Jared Allen, Jon Bostic and Jeremiah Ratliff since the season began.

But why should they consider trading Forte? The Bears need draft picks. It's a slow process rebuilding through the draft even if you hit on most of your picks. Giving yourself some room for error and possibly expediting the process by having extra picks might just help lead the Bears back to respectability sooner than if they were to use their normal draft picks.

Yes, trading Forte might make the Bears less watchable in the short term, but it just might help over the long term. And that's what the Bears should be focused on.

So what could the Bears expect in return for trading Forte? Well, not much unfortunately, which makes the transaction that much more difficult to swallow. Still, if Pace can get a third or fourth round pick for him, you do that in a heartbeat. It's just that teams don't value running backs like they used to.

Forte is a pending free agent in 2016 and I don't think the Bears will sign him, so Pace would be foolish not to at least listen to offers. Meanwhile, there is another rumor floating around league circles, and that one involves Jay Cutler.

Yep, Greg Garber, NFL writer for ESPN, proposes that the Bears trade Cutler to the Redskins. In his scenario, Washington would send the Bears QB Kirk Cousins and a third round draft pick. Garber goes on to point out that the Skins tried to acquire Cutler back in 2009.

Personally, I don't think there's a chance in hell this happens. For one thing, Washington has its own QB drama with Robert Griffin III. But it certainly makes for fascinating barroom debate.

But trading Forte is a much more plausible scenario. Go ahead and see what you can get, Mr. Pace.  After all, it doesn't hurt to listen.

 

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