Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end. I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency. I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history. My only regret is not being able to win a Lombardi trophy for the best fans in all of sports. I'm excited about the next chapter of my NFL career. But, Chicago will always be home. God Bless and Bear Down!
The Bears didn't wait long to issue a statement on the news:
Running backs at the 30+ age are always a risky investment, and an even more questionable investment for a franchise in the position the Bears currently are: rebuilding and with needs all over the place, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.Matt Forte will be a 30-year-old free agent RB in a year. I just have a hard time seeing him being a Bear in 2016+.— Matt Clapp (@DaBearNecess) January 9, 2015
This isn't to say that Forte isn't still very good and wouldn't possibly make the 2016 Bears a better team; he probably would. But, the moves Pace and the Bears make that will require substantial dollars -- let's say over 3 million/year -- should be made with long-term thinking in mind.
It also helps make the decision easier after seeing some very impressive things out of fourth-round pick Jeremy Langford in his rookie season, as well as second-year back Ka'Deem Carey. The Bears were still able to run their offense as they'd like to, and Langford showed the upside to be a very good all-around back. Langford should enter training camp as the starter and the Bears likely feel they're still in good hands with him.It's understandable to be sad Forte won't return, but you're naive if you didn't see this coming. It didn't make sense to bring him back— Matt Eurich (@MattEurich) February 12, 2016
So, that's all why the Bears made the right decision in deciding to let Forte walk, as sad as it is for fans. Also, Pace handled this difficult situation the right way:
The Pace method of operation should be mentioned in the Forte decision: Upfront, honest, man-to-man. No leaks. Forte announced it first.— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) February 12, 2016
But this story shouldn't be as much about the Bears letting Forte go -- as again, the writing has been on the wall for a while now -- as it should be recognizing the tremendous career he had as a Chicago Bear. As Pace correctly said in the statement, Forte is an "all-time great" Bear.
Since entering the league in 2008, Matt Forte has played 594 more snaps than any other RB in the NFL. A true workhorse for the Bears.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) February 12, 2016
Matt Forte's 8 yrs with Bears: 8,602 rush yds, 45 TDs + 4,116 yds receiving, 19 TDs. Five 1,000+ yd seasons. 2x Pro Bowls (& deserved more).— Dion Caputi (@nfldraftupdate) February 12, 2016
Matt Forte ranks 2nd in #Bears history in yards from scrimmage (12,718), rushing yards (8,602 on 2,035 attempts) and catches (487).— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) February 12, 2016
Since entering the NFL in 2008, Matt Forte's 12,718 scrimmage yards (8,602 rushing and 4,116 receiving) are the most in the league. #Bears— Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman) February 12, 2016
2. Forte's legacy in Chicago is this: the most complete back in Bears history other than Sir Walter himself.— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) February 12, 2016
I think you could make a great case that Forte ranks second of Bears greats after the 80s, behind only Brian Urlacher. Forte and Charles Tillman would be coin flips, followed by Lance Briggs and Devin Hester. Regardless, he's up there, and has had an amazing career.Can safely say in the time I've covered the team, no other #Bears player prepared himself physically better than Matt Forte. Pure pro.— dan durkin (@djdurkin) February 12, 2016
Where could we expect Forte to land in free agency? He's apparently targeting a team that has a good quarterback:
Asked Matt Forte last week what he looks for in a new team. It starts with the QB pic.twitter.com/WVJLb1alaK— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) February 12, 2016
Whatever the case, we wish the best of luck to Forte, and if isn't the Chicago Bears winning a Super Bowl, we'll be rooting for his new team to do so (provided it isn't the Packers, of course).
Get the latest DBN updates by following us on Facebook & Twitter.