All the talk about what Matt Forte or the Chicago Bears will do on the contract talks will likely drag into training camp. Some fans fear the Pro Bowl back won't budge, leaving Chicago handicapped. So they want a trade before it's too late.
Knee issues and NFL mileage make Forte a risk even at 26
For most roster areas in the NFL, being 26 years old means a player is just starting to enter his prime. It's true for running backs too, but it's also when coaches and general managers know the clock starts ticking. General knowledge in pro football says a full-time starting running back will decline after the age of 28. This means any team that has interest in Forte would get two more Pro Bowl-caliber years out of him before they run the risk of the constant poundings taking their toll. Injury is a fact of life in football and Matt Forte found that out when he missed the end of the 2011 season with a badly sprained knee. Pile that on with all the hits he's taken since getting drafted four years ago and it's easy to accept why the Chicago Bears are hesitant to pay him big money. The running back assures everybody his legs work fine and their reasons for alarm are way overblown but calmer heads know it just takes one awkward tackle to change that. The Bears want Forte to stay in Chicago but if he won't ease up in his contract demands then the team might either let him sit out or even explore a trade. So who would take him and for what?
Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts have the need and the ammunition
Two teams that have murky holes at the running back spot are two teams struggling for respect in a league that doesn't hand it out easily. The Detroit Lions got their fair share last season when Matthew Stafford threw for 5,000+ yards and got his team back to the playoffs after ten years. However the lack of a good running back put the star passer at risk far more often that Detroit coaches would've liked. They had hoped 2011 2nd round draft pick Mikel Leshoure would take that pressure away but things have gone horribly wrong on that end. Not only did Leshoure tear his Achilles tendon in training camp last year, but after he healed he got busted for marijuana possession. Facing suspension, the Detroit running game goes back into the hands of concussion case Jahvid Best. Another team in need of help is the Indianapolis Colts. A good running back can become the best friend of a rookie quarterback, and Indy has one in number one pick Andrew Luck. Until the young Stanford talent can adjust to the pro game he will need more that 34-year-old Reggie Wayne and rookie tight end Colby Fleener to score points. Either the Lions and Colts have the draft picks to make a run at Forte, but they also have something the Bears would love to have: pass rushers. The Lions have Cliff Avril who had 11 sacks last season and is only 25. The Colts have either Dwight Freeney or Robert Mathis who are older but just as dangerous.
Much of how a trade happens depends on what the Chicago Bears want. Trading Matt Forte is a big risk but in the right hands it could fetch valuable draft picks or even a player to help build for a defensive future. The Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts have good reason to have interest; it's up to the NFL winds to make it happen.