Dallas Cowboys: Should they trade for Matt Forte?
The Dallas Cowboys running game has been a topic of much conversation and debate ever since the Cowboys allowed running back DeMarco Murray leave Dallas via free agency this offseason. And after Sunday first loss of the season, at the hands of the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, the Cowboys running game seems to be the least of the team’s concerns. Especially after scoring four rushing touchdowns in the first half of that contest.
But there are rumors that the Chicago Bears are having a fire sale, looking to trade away players from their roster following a 0-3 start in the NFC North division. And one intriguing player in particular, whom the Cowboys have been rumored to be interested in, could now be on the open market. That would be veteran running back Matt Forte. But do the Cowboys even need another runner in the fold?
"“…the Bears will do their best to deal running back Matt Forte,” Eric Edholm wrote in an article that appeared on Yahoo Sports on Tuesday. “Why consider trading one of your best offensive pieces? Well, he’s heading into free agency, and the Bears might not get anything back for him if he leaves on his own volition, short of a 2017 compensatory pick. He’s 29, seeking to land another strong contract, and Forte has shown he is still a top-level running back who offers versatility with his receiving ability. But he’s of no more use for the Bears, who like third-round pick Jeremy Langford and might start to give him more run.”"
There is an unconfirmed rumor that the Cowboys were interested in Forte before the season started.
According to ESPN reporter Ed Werder, those rumors are not true.
Still, if a player of Forte’s caliber is available at the right price, can the Cowboys afford to ignore the possibility? Dallas is currently without starting quarterback Tony Romo and All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant due to injury. Adding a player like Forte to the Cowboys current roster would go a long way in keeping this team competitive until their stars return.
In his seven-year career, Forte has practically ran for 1,000 yards every season as a professional. Last year, he added a career-high 102 receptions to his 1000+ yard rushing total. A versatile weapon, Forte combines all the best attributes of the Cowboys current depth chart into one single player.
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But Forte is 29-years old and in the final year of his contract in Chicago. Any team trading for the veteran would be on the hook for a good portion of his $6.65 million salary plus bonuses. So far this season, Forte’s posted 276 rushing yards and one score, averaging an impressive 4.7 yards per carry. In Week One, he ran for 141 yards on the ground and had five receptions in a loss to the Green Bay Packers. Forte is second in total rushing yards in the NFL through Week Three.
On Sunday, current Cowboys running backs Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar all performed well. Randle recorded 87 rushing yards and three scores on 14 carries. McFadden added in six carries for 35 rushing yards and a touchdown. While Dunbar had a career-high 10 receptions for 100 yards. So why would Dallas even need a player like Forte? Especially if it’s going to cost the Cowboys a future draft pick to acquire his services for only one year?
Well, one must remember this Cowboys running game struggled in the first two weeks of the season. And they all but disappeared in the second half of Sunday’s loss to the Falcons. Randle, who is considered the Cowboys starter, ran for a poultry 2.8 yards per carry in Week Two against the Philadelphia Eagles. And despite his offensive fireworks in the first half of the Falcons game on Sunday, he recorded negative yardage in the second half of that contest. Bottom line is: The Cowboys still have a lot of unanswered questions at running back.
Randle has ran hard this year, but he’s been inconsistent. McFadden has a long history of injury. And Dunbar might be better suited to make the move to wide receiver as he’s only recorded 13 total rushing yards so far this season. And though Dallas did trade for Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael, he’s been a healthy scratch every game this year. Which means he’s been unable to prove he’s a better option than anyone else on the current depth chart.
Could the Cowboys use a proven running back like Forte? Absolutely. Will they be willing to make a trade for him? Probably not. The likely cost would simply be too high a price. But if the Bears are willing to deal, Dallas should at least consider to possibility. It could be the move that helps Dallas stay afloat until their injured stars return.
Next: Dallas Cowboys: Ten burning questions for America's Team