Every NFL team has trade bait at the start of the off-season. The Chicago Bears haven't had too many rumors, but they do have two players who could fetch a fair price. Would they deal Matt Forte or Devin Hester for help elsewhere on the roster?
Rebuilding Indianapolis Colts might take Hester for aging Dwight Freeney
No team desperately needs playmakers like the Indianapolis Colts. Peyton Manning is gone along with most of the running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers that helped the team win two AFC championships and a Super Bowl. Andrew Luck must start his era in Indy with a cobbled together offense with an aged Reggie Wayne and rookie tight end Coby Fleener as his best weapons. One player left on the team who might fetch a high price is defensive end Dwight Freeney. His move to outside linebacker after nine years at end has many experts doubting his stay in Indianapolis will last longer. The Chicago Bears have a desperate need for pass rushers. One thing they have in abundance is wide receivers. No less than eight receivers are on the Bears roster. Superstar return man Devin Hester is among them. Though not the best offensive threat, Hester would add a third dimension to the Colts ability to score, something Luck could use. While the value between the two players is clearly in favor of Freeney, his bad fit with the new Colts defense and a need to give the number one draft pick all the help he can get makes the trade far more possible.
Denver Broncos could give Peyton Manning Forte for Ryan Clady
Ever since he lost Edgerrin James, the four-time MVP Peyton Manning made due with second-tier running backs like Joseph Addai or Donald Brown. The Denver Broncos have issues of their own at that spot. Knowshon Moreno can't stay healthy, and starter Willis McGahee will turn 31 in October. It's a bad recipe even though most experts think Manning will cover up most of the problems. The truth is the Broncos offense lacks young talents in almost every area. Were the Bears to trade them Matt Forte, a 26-year-old hybrid back who can run and catch passes as good as any in the league, the Broncos could give Manning a real weapon he would know how to use and take pressure of McGahee at the same time. In exchange, they might willingly part with left tackle Ryan Clady, who despite a couple of Pro Bowl years has had injury problems and didn't have a great 2011 season.
In the end the value of Devin Hester and Matt Forte depends on which team the Chicago Bears ask. Many teams could use a Pro Bowl returner. Many could use a Pro Bowl running back. The problem is, this early in the year every team thinks they have every roster spot covered. The Indianapolis Colts will keep Dwight Freeney and the Denver Broncos will keep Ryan Clady. Whether that changes depends on if Chicago opens talks.