I've seen rumors (far-fetched at best) working their way around the web recently about the Patriots being interested in trading for Matt Forte. While I realize that the chances of the Patriots trading for the current Chicago Bear are slimmer than my own of winning tomorrow night's half billion dollar lottery, let's play devil's advocate.
First, Forte is franchised and clearly not happy about it. Moreso, he's unhappy that the Bears just signed a pretty penny to get Michael Bush- I mean, they could have gotten someone of BenJarvus Green-Ellis's caliber for a million less, which would mean a million more for Matt.
Forte is clearly a depreciated asset at this point. His situation is very similiar to one of the Patriots' top opponents in Fred Jackson, in that they were both the focal points of their offense until suffering a season-ending knee injury.
From New England's perspective, franchising Wes Welker was something that had to be done. They couldn't let the asset they'd developed go to free market, because he has massive value to the team and the team has the franchise tag as leverage.
But the Patriots have made a lot of middle-free agent signings recently, and if you haven't noticed, a lot of those happen to be at the receiver position.
3 things could make the possibility of this trade a little less crazy:1. The Bears need someone to help Jay Cutler reach the next level. He has the arm, the toughness, and has shown flashes of brilliance; I think a security blanket like Welker could be very valuable to complement the Bears' offense. If Wes stays healthy, he could be an impact player for another two-four years. But realistically- erring on the side of caution - maybe Bill Belichick would rather have a mid 20s elite running back than an early 30s elite short-range slot receiver.
2. I'm very excited about what Josh McDaniels might do with the weapons New England has currently- add in Brandon Lloyd and maybe a dynamic back like Matt Forte and Wes's presence in the slot isn't such a loss. Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are going to be carving up the centers of the field for at least two years, and now the Patriots have acquired a third threat in Daniel Fells. With New England recently bringing in some fullbacks, could it be a sign that the running game might be of greater emphasis next year? If so, it could help explain why the Patriots let BenJarvus Green-Ellis go for what seemed like a reasonably price to the Bengals.
3. Hear me out- maybe Bill Belichick sees something he can develop in Julian Edelman. I think Julian is on many peoples' radars as one of wide receivers to get cut before this season, but I don't think he's been given enough of a chance. He's a dynamic athlete that seems to define the term "football player." Many will cite his drop in production since his rookie season, but I really think we need to look back at the last game Wes Welker did not play for the Patriots- the 2010 Wildcard Playoff against the Ravens. Julian had a career game, catching 6 passes for 44 yards and two touchdowns. Edelman was essentially the only contributing offense player in that game. We all know of his exploits on the defensive side of the ball last year, and of his grit on special teams. Maybe it's time to give Edelman a chance on offense?