Matt Forte could potentially be playing his final game with the Chicago Bears on Sunday as the running back finishes out the final year of his contract. Forte has been the workhorse back for the Bears yet again this season, missing just a short amount of time for a knee injury, but with age not on his side and a rookie hot on his tails, the idea of a return in 2016 is not looking good. Forte admitted to the media that he is not optimistic that he returns next season, so where could the veteran play in the upcoming year?
Forte told the media that is not looking good in terms of his future with Chicago. The running back made it clear that he has yet to have any discussions about a contract extension with Chicago as Jeremy Langford is looking like the future for the Bears. Forte admits that he would love to come back and play out his career with the team, but the NFL is a business that is not kind to aging players like himself.
"I mean, I want to return," Forte said, via ESPN.com. "But if you're saying, am I hopeful that I do return? There is not much to hope for that right now because like I said, I talked to [the Bears' front office] earlier and they haven't said anything back. So there's nothing really to hope for. Like I said, am I hopeful that something will happen? Um, there's nothing really to hope for because obviously I haven't been approached or anything. But do I want to come back? Yes. That would be ideal for me, but that doesn't always happen in this business."
If the Bears move forward with Langford, where could Forte land in 2016? The running back has 822 yards and four touchdowns on the ground heading into the final week of play while also having 355 yards receiving with two touchdowns. Forte's stats have never dipped despite his age and there will be a lot of interest in his talents moving forward.
The Dallas Cowboys immediately emerge as an option for Forte. There is no doubt the team missed DeMarco Murray this season even with Darren McFadden having one of his better years of his career. Forte would be an easy option to bring on while also potentially drafting a younger back to develop. He could be the stability that Tony Romo needs on the ground.
The Denver Broncos could be an option. CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman both saw their share of struggles this season as consistency was an issue with both running backs. The Houston Texans are doubtful that Arian Foster ever returns to his dominant self after the number of injuries he battled this season. The Oakland Raiders could search for help with Latavius Murray. The Patriots have LeGarrette Blount on an expiring contract while the Redskins have Alfred Morris on an expiring deal. Both could target the veteran along with the Jets who have Chris Ivory on an expiring contract.
Forte will have plenty of options. The running back has made it clear he fully intends on playing in 2016 and Forte's resume shows he can still be an elite player moving forward. If the Bears opt to not keep him around, another team will jump at the chance to sign him.