The Chicago Bears have Matt Forte coming into the final year of his contract and a holdout could be a possibility for the running back, but a trade looks unlikely despite the team taking Jeremy Langford in the draft to help Jay Cutler on offense, as head coach John Fox said he expects Forte to be a key part of the offensive scheme this season.
The Bears are coming into 2015 with a new head coach and general manager and after not trading Jay Cutler this offseason, the team is ready to bounce back. The Bears won just five games last season and that gave them the number seven pick in the draft, which they used on receiver Kevin White. White is expected to start alongside Alshon Jeffery after Brandon Marshall was traded, while both Eddie Goldman and Jeremy Langford are also expected to contribute.
Forte was mentioned in some trade rumors this offseason due to the fact that he is coming into the final year of his deal, but nothing came close to happening. According to the Chicago Tribune, Forte has not shown up to offseason workouts (voluntary ones) and that there is a chance that he could hold out for part of training camp if he doesn't get a new deal. Forte said on Twitter that being away was not about a contract holdout but was about training and he added that he wants an extension in an interview on the radio.
Forte added that he is not planning to hold out and that he will be back with the team soon, but until that happens there is a question about how the contract situation will play out. It looks like Forte will be satisfied by the end of things, but Langford could help soften the blow if Forte eventually leaves. Forte is going to be 30 years old at the end of the season and he is making $6.65 million this year for the Bears.
Forte had a strong season in 2014 with over 1000 yards rushing and 102 receptions for 808 yards and 10 total touchdowns. Forte has been one of the most consistent backs in the league and over the past three seasons he has only missed on game. The past three seasons Forte has had at least 1000 yards rushing and in back to back seasons he has had at least 74 catches out of the backfield. The Bears are hoping that Langford can help keep Forte fresh after taking him in the fourth round of the draft.
Langford has already signed, according to Pro Football Talk, while ESPN.com reports that Kevin White and Eddie Goldman have signed their deals as well. Goldman is expected to be a big contributor on defense after going in the second round out of Florida State, while Langford could be a sleeper in the fourth round. Langford rushed for 1522 yards last season with 22 touchdowns for Michigan State and he has the chance to be a contributor for the Bears.
The team flirted with a Jay Cutler trade for Marcus Mariota this offseason, but it never came close to happening. The Titans were not interested in a deal and once the guarantee kicked in for Cutler's 2016 salary, it made him much harder to trade. Cutler comes in as the starter for offseason workouts.