The Month Before Draft Day Usually Generates Player Movement – Earlier, I wrote that if the Bears couldn’t re-sign Matt Forte at a reasonable rate, they’d be better off trading him. Might they be feeling the same way? While any possible deal was shot down by both sides this week at the NFL meetings, rumors persist that the New England Patriots, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns have all placed “exploratory calls” regarding Forte’s availability. Then, there is this nugget from Rotoworld.com’s Evan Silva:
“The NFL draft breeds player movement. And not just in terms of rookie picks. Player personnel executives around the league are currently tweaking rosters to be as least position-needy as possible entering the draft. That way, clubs set themselves up to select the “best players available.” By May 1, rosters must be readied for the heart of OTA season.
April is the most trade-happy month on the NFL calendar. Here’s an in-depth look at ten pre-draft trade candidates, with some more listed at the end:
1. Bears running back Matt Forte
Forte has done his best to make the organization look bad in repeated ESPN appearances, complaining about his contract status. He was particularly displeased with the Bears’ signing of Michael Bush, even though shared rushing attempts could actually work to prolong Forte’s career.
Forte is a good back. New GM Phil Emery knows it, or else he wouldn’t have slapped Forte with the franchise tag. But the Bears now have a starting-caliber replacement, and can find another on day two of the draft. On the trade market, Forte could fetch a second-round pick and then some.
Prediction: Traded to New England for second- and sixth-round picks.
While I would hope the Bears would try to get more than a second round draft pick for Forte, the rumors of interest around the League should at least intrigue them.
New rules implemented over the years have given added protection to quarterbacks and receivers. The NFL of today is a passing league. The Bears would be best served upgrading the areas of their roster that take advantage of this. The new rules dictate that teams must place a premium on passers, pass catchers, pass protectors, and pass rushers. A new contract for Forte could see the Bears spending close to $15 Million of cap space on their backfield alone in 2012. I don’t see that as a particularly smart investment in this day and age. Jay-Z might call that hustling backwards. You don’t make business moves Shawn Carter would [presumably] disapprove of.