When the final seconds ticked off of the Bears’ 24-20 loss to the Lions on Sunday, many wondered if Matt Forte had played his last game for Chicago. The long-tenured Bears running back just completed the final season of a four-year, $30 million contract he signed in 2012, and with the emergence of rookie Jeremy Langford throughout the year, it’s not likely the team will have room on its roster for two lead backs heading into next season, one of whom is now on the wrong side of 30 and will be looking for one last payday before he retires.
After the game, Forte left behind a dirty, ratted up jersey in his locker, symbolizing all the years of hard work he has put in since coming into the league.
Was that Forte’s way of saying goodbye to the team that drafted him in 2008? Perhaps. Then again, he’s also made it clear that his first choice would be to return to Chicago and finish out his career with the Bears, and that no decisions have been made about his future.
Forte proved in 2015 that he still has plenty left in the tank, as he rushed for 898 yards in only 13 games while averaging 4.1 yards per carry. There should be plenty of suitors across the league willing to pay for that kind of production, so if Forte were to return to Chicago, it would most likely be the result of him giving the Bears a hometown discount.
But why would he do that? Would you leave money on the table to return to a team that finished 6-10 the previous year? Or would you seek a bigger payday with a probable playoff team?
Yeah. Me, too.