The Chicago Sun-Times did some digging on Friday at the Bears' pre-draft meeting with the media and may have uncovered a potential draft day trade with the Colts that could make sense for both teams. The Sun-Times probed a bit regarding an ESPN Internet report that indicated interest by the Colts in Chicago's top running back, Thomas Jones.
According to the Sun-Times report, head coach Lovie Smith "reacted adamantly against the idea that Jones could be traded."
Jones gained 1,335 yards last year for Chicago, but they also have talented second-year running back Cedric Benson on the roster. He could take over the starter's role if Jones moved on. Benson was their first-round selection, fourth overall, last April.
Bears general manager Jerry Angelo appeared to be a bit more vague with his reply, telling the Sun-Times that he has not "initiated any contact" regarding a trade for Jones.
The word that should jump out at you there is "initiated." If there's been no discussion on it, why not simply say there's been no contact about it, period?
Further raising speculation about a possible trade is the fact that Jones stopped participating in voluntary workouts and has switched agents, signing on with Drew Rosenhaus. Ironically, Rosenhaus is also Edgerrin James' agent. So he could play an active role in replacing Indy's former star running back with a new one.
Rosenhaus told the Sun-Times, "The bottom line here is obviously there are discussions about a potential trade. We are receptive to it."
In another development that could play into this scenario, the Bears signed restricted free agent cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr. to an offer sheet. The Panthers are unlikely to match that offer, especially since they demoted him this past season.
As a result of that move, the Bears are poised to lose their third-round pick in this year's draft, so they may be interested in grabbing another first-day pick. If they were able to get the Colts' third-round pick, they would in effect be getting Manning plus a third-round selection for Jones. And they'd still have Benson to insert as their starter.
But for the Colts, this could all be little more than a smokescreen. Allowing this rumor to spread will put a question mark in the heads of teams as to whether or not they'll actually use their first-rounder on a young back out of this year's draft, which strategically plays to their advantage on draft weekend.