Trade bait

The sudden retirement of Ricky Williams has the Dolphins scrambling to find an every down back. At this point the Bears have two backs worthy of starting roles, which means Miami could come calling.

On the Dolphins roster, the two possibilities to replace Williams are Travis Minor or Sammy Morris. The free agent market has practically nothing left now that Eddie George and Antowain Smith have signed with Dallas and Tennessee, respectively. The only veteran worthy of consideration that is still on the market is James Stewart.

Meaning the Dolphins will most likely have to make a trade for a running back. There have already been rumors of the Bears sending Anthony Thomas and others to Miami for unsigned restricted free agent Adewale Ogunleye. While trading Thomas remains a possibility, the chances of Ogunleye being included in a potential deal are slim.

The Bears only have $1 million in cap space and Ogunleye is seeking a long-term extension. Securing a draft pick for Thomas is more realistic considering Dave Wannstedt needs to win now and trading a defensive end that is coming off a 15-sack campaign would only hinder his chances of sticking around.

Lovie Smith has given Thomas Jones the starting tailback job and he's looked good in off-season workouts. Whether or not Jones has earned enough trust to trade Thomas is another issue.

Jones has never carried the ball more than 138 times in a season, while Thomas has averaged 245 attempts over his three seasons in Chicago. The depth and experience in the backfield is questionable beyond Jones and Thomas. Adrian Peterson and Brock Forsey are role players, but if Jones were to miss time it would be a stretch to count on either of them to be every down contributors.

Miami could also turn to another team in the division for an answer to their running game. The Minnesota Vikings have an abundance of talented running backs and could afford to let one go.

With players due to report to Bourbonnais Tuesday it would be best to make a quick decision on whether or not to move Thomas. Carrying any trade talk into training camp would be a distraction the Bears don't need when Smith is trying to put his stamp on the team.


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