CHICAGO, IL – Matt Forte has been informed by the Bears he will not be offered a contract for next season, ending his career in Chicago after eight years.
It’s a move that will be hotly debated by Bears fans, who while excited about the emergence of rookie running back Jeremy Langford and the potential to spread the extra money around a talent deficient team, will miss Forte’s steadying presence in the backfield. The eight-year veteran running back out of Tulane has been a staple of the Chicago offense since being drafted in 2008 and breaking onto the scene with a 123-yard debut.
For the better part of the last decade Forte was the Chicago offense, even after the Bears acquired more talented players at the wide receiver and quarterback positions than they had at any time in their history. Forte rushed for over 8,500 yards during his tenure in Chicago, in addition to having over 4,000 receiving yards. During the 2014 season he set the record for most receptions by a running back in a single season with 102.
A complete back that rarely came off the field, Forte excelled in nearly every facet of his position. When factoring in rushing, receiving and pass blocking, a case can be made that he was one of (if not the) best running backs in the league during his career. He currently ranks 3rd among active running backs in career yards from scrimmage. When compared to the players ahead of him (Adrian Peterson and Frank Gore), Forte has proven a better receiver and less inclined to turn the ball over than either of those two.
Despite turning 30 this year, the supposed age when running backs decline in an accelerated fashion, there will undoubtedly be many suitors for someone of such proven, consistent quality. Potential suitors include the Seattle Seahawks, who just lost Marshawn Lynch to retirement and (gulp) the Green Bay Packers, with RB James Starks a free agent and RB Eddie Lacy coming off a down year. The New England Patriots also look a potential fit, posing an absolute nightmare for linebackers and safeties that would have to cover both Forte and Gronkowski. Wherever he lands, Forte certainly seems like he has something left in the tank and will instantly make that team better.
Just please, anywhere but Green Bay.