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What's Matt Forte worth on the trade market?

While the NFL offseason has somewhat wound down as the draft has passed and minicamps open, but the Bears still have a couple of contract issues surrounding them. The biggest one is running back Matt Forte, who wants a contract extension. Could the workhorse back be on his way out of Chicago?

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Pace hasn't really messed around much since he arrived in Chicago.

He never committed to Jay Cutler more than he had to, he shipped off the most talented receiver in franchise history for a paltry draft pick, and he was rumored to be in the mix for blockbuster-type draft day deals.

His wheeling and dealing might not be done as contract issues continue to swirl around running back Matt Forte and tight end Martellus Bennett.

Forte, who has been largely undervalued and underrated his entire career, has one year remaining on the contract he signed back in 2012. Now he's a 29-year-old RB who has a lot of miles on his treads (1,817 career carries) and wants some security and one last payday before he turns 30 and all his leverage goes by the wayside.

Forte has been a great player for his seven seasons in Chicago, racking up numbers that make him the second-best RB in Bears history by career stats. He's second in franchise history in yards and carries and fourth in touchdowns. He's also second in career receptions and seventh in receiving yardage. His 57 total career touchdowns are good for fourth place in the history books.

His three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons tie Neal Anderson for the third-most in team history behind Walter Payton's four and six consecutive season streaks.

There's no arguing that Forte has been a very important cog to the Bears' offense for his career. However, few would say that the Bears need to bend over backwards to accommodate a great but likely fading player who is solid but hardly spectacular.

Forte missed the voluntary portions of the offseason but will certainly show up when it's required. For a player getting near the 30-year-old positional plateau that ends careers, it would be insane for him to give up guaranteed money while chasing the hope of new money.

New regime leaders Pace and head coach John Fox don't appear to want players who put themselves ahead of the team or who they think may not fit their schemes and locker room mentality. Could they see Forte as expendable?

Another way to look at it is; is there a team who would take Forte?

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took to the radio waves last week saying that he would be willing to trade a 2016 first round pick if it was a game-changing running back or defensive player. Jones has been building this offseason in an effort to make a final push for a title before Tony Romo limps off into retirement with a broken back.

Now, the natural connection has been made to Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who has been in a long, drama-filled "will he, won't he" fit with the team this offseason for his services. The team seems ready to bring him back, while there still is some uncertainty over whether AP wants to return to Minnesota.

However, it seems that if a trade were to have happened between those two teams, they would have already carried it out. So, could the Bears swoop in and offer up Matt Forte?

I'm not suggesting that the team could pry away the Cowboys' first round pick with Forte, who has less than half of Peterson's career touchdowns, over 2,000 yards less and averages 0.8 yards fewer per carry, all despite having played more games. But Forte certainly provides value and an upgrade over Dallas' current RB stable of Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, Ryan Williams and Lance Dunbar.

Behind what is likely the best offensive line in the league, Forte could be silly good. Plus, as a receiver he offers a dynamic that neither Peterson nor Dallas' last great RB DeMarco Murray have. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett likes to pass and Forte could fit in as the pass catcher out of the backfield that they haven't really had.

Forte is in the last year of his deal and is owed $7.05 million in salary this season, carrying a $9.2 million cap hit. Granted that he wants an extension, and that the NFL operates in trades way differently than baseball or basketball, but an expiring deal could be enticing to the Cowboys, a team that was this-close to the NFC Championship game a season ago.

The Cowboys also just added three first round talents in actual first round pick Byron Jones, second rounder Randy Gregory, and La'El Collins. This might make Jerry open to parting with a pick or two next season.

What could Forte fetch? I don't know, I personally would probably consider a third rounder a fleecing, but a fourth and a conditional fifth or sixth (that could become a round higher with Forte hitting certain benchmarks in games/snaps) might seem fair.

It wouldn't surprise me if Forte continues his career performance beyond age 30. If he put up at least one more 1,000 yard season after 2015 it would surprise me and I think he could be a solid RB rotation option until age 32 or so.

Is dumping Forte for a couple of day three draft picks a year too early better than letting him walk after the season and getting nothing in return for a player who could backslide this season?

What is the minimum you would want in a trade of Forte?