Should the Raiders Trade for Matt Forte?


The Chicago Bears began what seemed to be a fire sale about a week ago, trading away Jared Allen and Jon Bostic. On top of that, it was also rumored that they would listen to offers for Alshon Jeffrey and Matt Forte.

Both Jeffrey and Forte are obviously very talented players, and would be a welcomed addition to just about any team in the league. Both are in a contract year, however, so there is some risk in trading for either player.

Matt Forte in particular, could be an intriguing addition for the Oakland Raiders.

Going into the season, the Raiders were noticeably concerned about the running back situation. Latavius Murray flashed big time potential, but was largely unproven. McFadden and MJD were no longer on the team, so pieces needed to be added.

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So Reggie McKenzie went out and signed Roy Helu Jr., who has looked good when given the opportunity. The team then signed Trent Richardson a week later, but we all know how that one turned out. The Raiders were also linked to DeMarco Murray during the offseason, among a few other RB’s.

Then there is Taiwan Jones, who is making the switch back to running back after spending some time playing corner. So strengthening the position was definitely a priority this offseason.

Fast forwarding to Week 5 – Latavius has been solid, but there is room for improvement. He currently has 68 carries for 297 yards (4.4 ypc) and two touchdowns. He also has caught 14 passes for 80 yards.

But two costly turnovers against the Bears, one by fumble and the other a dropped pass that resulted in an interception, were big contributing factors to last Sunday’s loss.

Matt Forte would certainly be an upgrade. He’s an all-pro caliber running back who also is extremely effective in the passing game. At age 29 and in a contract year, the price tag wouldn’t be all that hefty either.

But should the Raiders trade for him? No way.

Oakland won three of its last six games in 2014 when Murray took over the reigns, which is when the run game finally got going. During that stretch was also the only time Derek Carr threw for 200+ yards in three consecutive games all season.

The Raiders have also started this season 2-2. So that makes the team 5-4 with Murray as the lead back. Now, I’m not trying to make “running back wins” a thing, but having a consistent run game does wonders to help the offense, and it especially helps young quarterbacks.

Starting with the Kansas City win last season, Latavius has 140 carries for 667 yards (4.76 ypc) and four touchdowns. That’s a nine-game stretch, which is a quality sample size. In 2014, only six running backs had a higher ypc average than that.

Murray has also performed well in spite of an offensive unit that struggles in run blocking. So far this season, per PFF, only Gabe Jackson has a positive run blocking grade.

All this being said, Latavius has proven that he can be an every down back and the running back of the future for this football team. He’s only 25 years old and alongside Carr and Amari Cooper, the trio forms a dynamic, young core that the team can build on.

Trading for Forte would be incredibly short-sighted. It’s a move a contender should make, not one for a team like Oakland needs more young talent. Which is exactly what Latavius is.

Trying to shortcut their way into success is what caused the last decade-plus of futility. Build around the talent that is already in place, load up on defense and be competitive for a sustainable amount of time.

Next: Aldon Smith Arraingment: Will it affect the Raiders?