Matt Forte among players Bears would consider trading

What the Chicago Bears did this week was not the beginning of a fire sale. Two trades in the span of a week for two players not considered essential to the defense wasn't a sign that Chicago will wave the white flag, ship off all its parts, and try to find its  franchise quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick.

It was, however, proof that general manager Ryan Pace will consider all options when it comes to improving his team for the longterm.

And yes, that does include making veteran running back Matt Forte available for the right offer.

The mantra from Chicago has been that it would listen to almost anything, and that would include 29-year-old making $7.1 million.

As one rival general manager described it, "They basically say, 'Don't be afraid to ask.'"

In fact, though the Bears haven't explicitly said it, there are just a few players they'd be highly unlikely to trade barring a blockbuster offer, and it's the players you'd think. Recent high draft pick receiver Kevin White, lineman Kyle Long, receiver Alshon Jeffery, cornerback Kyle Fuller, and free-agent signing Pernell McPhee.

They even contemplated dealing Cutler, as was reported at the time, during the draft in an effort to move up to one of the top two slots, though it never materialized.

The speculation over Forte and a possible trade heated up this week, following Jared Allen (Panthers) and Jon Bostic (Patriots) being traded. But while other teams believe the Bears discussed trading him during the draft, a source familiar with the Bears' thinking said conversations never happened.

As another general manager explained, given Forte's age and salary -- even with his productivity and 276 yards rushing already -- a trade netting any value would be hard to find.

As for Allen, the trade to the Panthers was a topic the player broached first, and sending him to Carolina allowed a player ill-fitting of the 3-4 system to find a home while allowing the Bears to dress Willie Young, a better fit for them. As for Bostic, his inability to stay healthy made him expendable.

In the future, if the question is "Is this Bears player potentially available?" then the answer is likely yes.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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