Free agency has largely passed until roster cuts start during preseason. Until then teams must go forward with what they have unless they have plans for something bigger. Could the Chicago Bears solve their problems through another NFL trade?
Matt Forte and Devin Hester offer bait for teams in need of playmakers
Teams don't generally like trading because it can cost too much on either side. The Bears gave up five total draft picks in the first three rounds for Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall. No one would say the price was too high since both players are just hitting their prime, but under a new general manager the team has to start thinking about conserving draft picks for later seasons. On the other hand, Chicago finds itself for the first time in years in a place where they have talented players who might fetch a good price on the market. Two names that have come up recently are running back Matt Forte and receiver Devin Hester. Forte has continued his contract talks with the team but if they can't work out something long-term, the Bears risk losing him to free agency in 2013. As for Hester, the dynamic return man isn't a kid anymore at 30. While not old by any stretch, Chicago won't find his value higher than it already is if they wanted to deal him. Simple minds would say trade for draft picks, but a few teams might offer that and a capable player that could fill roster need. The question is where would the trades fit?
Ryan Clady and Corey Williams are two names who could draw interest
Two teams that could use either Forte or Hester are the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions. Both have major issues at running back that could get easily solved in a deal with the Chicago Bears. Hester meanwhile brings instant offense to teams already boasting Pro Bowl quarterbacks, making them even more dangerous. What makes those two franchises so interesting is two key players. For Denver it is their left tackle Ryan Clady. Still young and already with a Pro Bowl under his belt, he will become a free agent next season unless the Broncos extend him. As for Detroit, their money problems with defensive end Cliff Avril has left able defensive tackle Corey Williams off their radar for a new deal. He too becomes a free agent next year. Either player would fill a serious need for the Bears. While losing Forte or Hester would hurt the truth is Chicago made it clear with the Marshall trade in March that their future is with Cutler. The best way to help him is to either protect him with Clady, or strengthen the defense with Williams to get the ball back quicker.
Trades in the NFL are rarer than other sports, but fittingly they can have a bigger impact. The Chicago Bears found that out twice when they found perhaps their best quarterback and wide receiver combo in franchise history. If that makes Matt Forte and Devin Hester expendable, then going after talents like Ryan Clady or Corey Williams shouldn't anger anybody.