On this date in NFL history…nothing happened. At least not involving the Bears.
The 2015 NFL trading deadline passed Tuesday afternoon as most of those deadlines do, with the Bears and pretty much the rest of the NFL doing nothing beyond the de rigeur phone calls that happen every year around this time and the days leading up to the draft.
General manager Ryan Pace was reachable by cell or office phone if anyone had an actionable interest in players on his roster. Having traded Jared Allen to Carolina and Jonathan Bostic to New England earlier this season, Pace’s willingness to deal already was established before Tuesday.
Nothing happened, for obvious reasons.
Rush-linebackers Lamarr Houston and Willie Young were subjects of what-if scenarios, given their lack of playing time and apparent non-fit in the Bears’ defensive plans, present or future. But both are coming back from 2014 season-ending leg injuries and neither offered the kind of instant impact sought by contending teams at the midpoint of this season, the kind that Allen offered the 7-0 Panthers.
More to the point, with the Bears quite possibly prepared to cut ties with the two Phil Emery acquisitions sometime after this season, no reason existed for a team to deal away draft capital for limited-impact players who likely will be available next offseason anyway.
The 49ers have benched but not unloaded quarterback Colin Kaepernick, The Bears are expected to be in the market for a No. 2 quarterback for next season but the presumption around the league is that the 49ers will jettison Kaepernick next offseason so why give up something now for someone who’ll be on the street at some point?
[NBC SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
If there was a surprise, in this case very slight, it was not that running back Matt Forte wasn’t a trade target before his knee injury Sunday, but rather that tight end Martellus Bennett was not dealt to a contending team.
Bennett sought a contract upgrade last offseason, impact tight ends are at a premium (Denver trading with San Francisco to acquire Vernon Davis). The Bears may face another holdout by Bennett next offseason but he is a valued offensive commodity in multiple systems, and the Bears do not plan to be 2-5 this time next season, so they were open to but not soliciting offers for their 2014 Pro Bowl tight end.
Pernell McPhee? Kyle Long? Jay Cutler? For Pace and the Bears to have dealt away potential elite players at their positions – the paucity of top quarterbacks makes Cutler “elite” relatively – would have been to be willing to part with linchpin players a team can win because of, not simply win with.