Press Release from the Chicago Bears. Two Chicago Bears Wide Receivers at the pro bowl? Think Satan may well be skating to work tomorrow :) BEARS WR ALSHON JEFFERY NAMED...
The Forte Gambit
A lot has been said, discussed, argued and said again about the Matt Forte contract saga. This is from the perspective of an NFL UK Fan of the Chicago Bears.
It started last season. Former GM Jerry Angelo made him an offer of a multiyear deal (believed to be in the region of $15M guaranteed. Forte declined the offer and whilst in the middle of a career year (and his final year of his rookie contract), it seemed that his gamble had paid off until Forte went down with an injury during the Chiefs game that would rule him out for the remainder of the season.
It’s fair to say that Matt Forte is in a difficult position right now, whatever side of the argument you stand. He is skipping the Voluntary team workouts at present as, technically, since he hasn’t signed the Franchise Tag tender, he isn’t contracted to attend.
However, we are now less than a week away from the annual Circus parade that is the NFL Draft. It’s been mooted that Bears GM Phil Emery may look to trade Forte for picks. It would mean getting Forte to sign his franchise tender first AND finding a willing partner in the trade.
It also means that both Forte and Bears fans may find out that a franchise RB just isn’t worth the kind of investment of yesteryear (Unless you are the Vikings or the Panthers, apparently!) The Panthers deal for Williams was mind boggling and no one will pay that for a position that has become not only a “shared” role now; the running back by committee issue but also the way in which the league is becoming very pass happy, you only require a serviceable back to help move the chains occasionally.
New England have proved this time and time again over the last 4-5 seasons, with relative no names and past their best players playing RB1 yet they are the most successful franchise of this era. Which leads me back to the original point. Should Emery bait the water and see if there are any takers?
The next question then, what could we realistically get for Forte? Do we seek to move up in the draft? Do we look for future picks from the deal?
If we look at the top 10 picks in the first round:
- Indianapolis – I think it would take more than we have to trade into that spot, should we want to plus they are locked onto Luck.
- Washington – After paying a King’s ransom to the Rams to trade up to get RGIII, they wouldn’t be interested, even if they do have a slight need at the RB position.
- Minnesota – They don’t need a RB but this is one spot that we wouldn’t mind trading into if only to snag Matt Kalil. Again, unlikely, even if the Vikings say they are listening!
- Cleveland – After releasing Hillis this offseason, they do have a need at RB but then why trade for a RB with miles on the clock in the pros when they have Trent Richardson in their lap? No go.
- Tampa Bay – Tampa have Blount at RB1 and he isn’t considered the long term RB for the team. Potential trade partner here but they would want a bit more than we would want to offer to trade out of the Clairbourne/Blackmon decision.
- St Louis – The Rams don’t need a RB at the moment and certainly not at the cost of Forte’s new contract for a bit part player.
- Jacksonville – Even if the rumours of MoJo holding out are true, they wouldn’t want to be paying top RB money to 2 players, Swap Mojo and our 1st this season for Forte and their first next? Nah, I can’t see it either.
- Miami – They do have Reggie Bush and seem happy with him and their need is QB so not here.
- Carolina – DeAngelo Williams. Jonathan Stewart. Mike Tolbert. Do you see a need? No, neither do I.
- Buffalo – Fred Jackson is one of the most underrated RBs in the league and with the money they splashed in Free Agency, doubtful they would want to commit to another boatload.
- So, aside from possibly Tampa Bay and less likely, Miami and Minnesota, I cannot see any value in Emery trying to trade up in the draft, using the 19th pick and Matt Forte as leverage.
However, and this is where it may get interesting. Trading Matt Forte and our second round selection for possibly a second higher up, a third and possibly a second next year wouldn’t be so farfetched. That would give Chicago an early second round draft selection, which puts us in with the 2nd tier of O Line and D line guys as well as WRs such as Sanu, Jeffery, possibly even Hill, not to mention Fleener, the Stanford TE. It also offers us another 3rd round pick, which is no bad thing for this year’s draft.
I know what some of you are all thinking! Not enough value in the trade for the Bears? THAT is the question that Lovie Smith and Phil Emery need to work out. How valuable is Forte to this franchise RIGHT NOW? Both as an asset to the playing staff and also as trade commodity.
Do they value Forte more than second round trade bait? How highly do they value Forte and what he can bring to the party?
If they do not see value in trading him along with a 2nd round pick then maybe they should get back around a table and see if there is a compromise to be made.
If not, then they are prepared to move along without him after Free Agency this year and this might be the last shot of Matt Forte us Bears fans get to see in the famous Navy and Orange.