From inside Valley Ranch, we investigate the Cowboys' Matt Forte 'trade talk'

From inside Valley Ranch, we investigate the Cowboys' Matt Forte 'trade talk,' which is occurring just as Dallas creates a roster spot with the release of D-lineman Davon Coleman.

You want clickbait?

They got clickbait!

The Chicago Bears have put a flamethrower to a fire sale by dumping a handful of recognizable names. (Man, next year the Bears are going to DOMINATE the sixth round!)

As a result of this -- and as near as I can tell only as a result of this -- we've got ourselves rumors: The Dallas Cowboys are "once again'' try to swing a trade for running back Matt Forte!

The problems with the rumor are many, and they begin with the "once again'' supposition. Somebody started the idea of Forte-to-Dallas last May, when the Cowboys were sorting through their post-DeMarco Murray plans. There was nothing to it then; the Adrian Peterson rumors carried slightly more weight, and remember, Dallas never even contacted the Vikings, the agent or AD ... and the real fuel was from fans and media who conjured in their minds fanciful and headline-grabbing ways to solve Dallas' running back "problem.''

But the Cowboys' plan -- RBBC -- never changed. And as I write this on a Tuesday following a loss to Atlanta in which the Cowboys' lead back Joe Randle rushed for 97 yards in the first half and still leaves his coaches somewhat dissatistifed -- the RBBC still hasn't changed.


Oh, it might be time for Darren McFadden to get a heavier load. It might be time for Christian Michael to get his very first chance for a practice carry above the level of scout-teamer.

But tear up the plans and start over because Matt Forte might be available?

That would require the changing of another plan, once that's been in the works since 2008, one that the people in the organization who I talk to remain committed to: They have no desire to pay running backs who are heavy-lifters and older than 28 salaries in the $9-mil-a-year range.

It's why DeMarco is gone, remember?

And it's why Forte is not -- as I write this -- on Dallas' radar.

 Does that make the tweet from my colleague,'s Aaron Leminguntrue? Not necessarily. There are endless semantic interpretations of "contact'' and "inquiries'' and the like. But are the Cowboys interested in busting wide open their RBBC philosophy and their commitment to avoiding $9 mil RB's?

This is a never-say-never world ... but the answer today is, "No.'' The 2-1 Cowboys are not ready to turn their philosophy and their roster upside down to rent an expensive, elderly running back.

Did Jerry Jones once say he could envision trading a first-round pick for a superstar running in the right situation?  He did - though he was speaking specifically (without saying so) of AD.

If Dallas' running backs are revealed to be complete NFL flops, does that change things? Quite possibly, though considering how much they like Michael and the fact he's yet to be activated for a game suggested they haven't revealed all the possible answers available to them.

Could you bite the bullet on Forte's a $9.2 million cap hit for 2015 by considering it a one-time rental? Sure. His deal is up. You don't have that sort of cap room at the moment but you can create it. Can that be justified for a guy who turns 30 in December?

The media seems to think so. The fanbase seems to think so. The Cowboys' personnel and financial experts disagree.

I don't know what the Bears want to do. They selected a running back in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Hey same thing with another rumor that has Chicago giving away star receiver Alshon Jeffrey. He's in the final year of his deal and Chicago drafted a wide receiver high this year as well.


Does Chicago want to give them away for more sixth-round picks? Cool! (Even though Dallas is running a little low on those right now, having spent to replace the temporarily sidelined Dez and Romo and to get Michael.)

Forte would be Dallas' best back in a long time -- more talented than Murray. He's a 1,000-yard rusher and a pass-catching weapon (102 receptions in 2014) and a two-time Pro Bowler. There is always the "Jerry Factor'' here, but this organization no longer focuses on collecting "stars.'' ... which brings me to the real transactions of the moment.

The Cowboys have moved out Davon Coleman and are replacing him with another defensive lineman, likely KC practice-squadder David Irving, who is 6-7, 273 pounds, age 22, with some behavior problems at Iowa State. He was a UDFA rookie. ... and the other thing notable about him is that far fewer people will click on a "David Irving'' story than will click on a "Matt Forte'' story.

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