Matt Forte has been a mainstay in the backfield of the Chicago Bears. Ever since he was drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Bears out of Tulane, he has been giving opposing defenses fits. And the 6’2”, 218 pound back is not only a threat on the ground, but through the air as well. He has been doing his thing in Chicago for eight season, but 2015 was his last season as a Chicago Bear. The organization has decided to go in a different direction and will not be retaining his services. Forte said his goodbyes to the fans on social media and thus begins his search for a new home next season. Plenty have speculated on where he will land next year and what kind of team fits his style. But in all honesty, there are a few things that will effect what he wants to do next. Some of that falls at the feet of Forte. But then there are also some teams that have to address where they are at this point in time.
Forte is a veteran player at this point in his career. He has reached 30 years old and that is deadly for a running back. At that age, running backs usually have the wear and tear catch up to them. You tend to see guys getting banged up more and missing more games. Forte has been very durable over his career, but he did miss the second-most games in his career last season and had the lowest single-season rushing total he has had in his entire career. If he is to go somewhere, he will have to split carries with someone. For a guy that is used to carrying the load, that will definitely be an adjustment for him. The question will be is he ready to do that or not? If he is, he better be ready to take a paycut (made $9.2 million last season). Running backs are not as valued as they once were in the NFL. More teams are going to a rotation system at that position and also are going with cheaper options to run the football. Forte may be looking for that last payday, but that last one will probably not be as much as he wants. If he accepts less money to play, it will more than likely be to play for a contender. During his time in Chicago, he has not really been blessed to play with a contender.
Now that we have gotten the particulars in what Forte is at this point, what he may be looking for and what he may get on the free agent market, it is time to get some teams to mind that may be able to use his services. One team that could use him would be New England. The Patriots are big in using the short passing game and Forte would be a perfect fit for them there. They do have Dion Lewis coming back next season, but the Patriots have not been any stranger to adding veteran backs. And ultimately, the Patriots would give Forte a chance to win that elusive ring. Another team that could use his talents would be the Seattle Seahawks. Of course they would have to get him on a tremendous discount due to the money they have to pay all the players they have. But if they were to get him, then they would have insurance in case of Thomas Rawls not repeating his performance next season. And they would also have a guy that could play all three downs for them with ease as a backup also. And third on the list comes the Dallas Cowboys. Even though the Cowboys may not be the contender the Seahawks and Patriots are, they could make some noise offensively provided everyone is healthy. But one thing that would scare me about that team is that Tony Romo has broken his clavicle multiple times. And at Romo’s age, clavicles don’t heal up and maintain themselves like they may have if he was younger.
Forte is nearing the end of his career. Money will be the motive, but so will the chance to win a ring. The veteran running back has to balance getting paid along with going to the best fit for him to win or be effective. On the flipside, teams checking Forte may want to make sure and sign him as a luxury and not an essential piece. Signing a 30 year old running back to be the feature back is not good business at all. It will be interesting to see how things turn out for Forte. He has had one heck of a career up to this point and could help some teams.