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In-season NFL trades aren’t particularly common, particularly deals involving established veteran contributors. However, the Bears made two deals that week that featured noteworthy players. Chicago sent five-time Pro Bowler Jared Allen to the Panthers, then turned around and dealt linebacker Jonathan Bostic, who has 17 career starts and is still just 24 years old, to New England.
While the Bears aren’t giving up on this season yet, and aren’t necessarily holding a fire sale, this week’s trades were a sign that the club is accelerating its rebuilding process, looking ahead to the 2016 season and jettisoning players who aren’t ideal fits for the new coaching staff.
Of course, there are bigger-name players on the roster who may not have a future with Chicago beyond this year. The most interesting case is that of running back Matt Forte, who will see his contract expire at season’s end — Forte and the Bears don’t appear to have engaged in meaningful extension discussions, and while the team reportedly isn’t shopping him, he looks like a logical potential trade candidate.
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is another player in a contract year, but he’s just 25 years old and is coming off consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. While Jeffery’s trade value might be higher than Forte’s, the Bears are more likely to want to lock him up by extending his deal beyond this year.
Forte and Jeffery aren’t the only Bears who are eligible for free agency in 2016. Shea McClellin, Jeremiah Ratliff, and Alan Ball are among the players on the other side of the ball that could hit the open market, and there are plenty of others with uncertain futures in Chicago, including Jay Cutler, whose contract becomes slightly easier to move on from as each year passes.
What do you think? Are the Bears done making moves for now, or should they keep dealing and get what they can for some of the veteran players on their roster? Will Forte or Jeffery remain with Chicago beyond this year’s trade deadline? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!