The biggest offseason question for the Chicago Bears is the futures of both Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte. With a lot of re-tooling to do on defense, the two offensive stars are in the dark about where they stand with the franchise. The Bears will have to do some money spending this offseason and retaining both Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte could be difficult which is why the Bears will look at their depth for help.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Jeffery has a better shot at getting a contract extension with the Bears than Forte does simply because of depth alone. This season the wide receiver position was questionable for Chicago. They started the year off trading Brandon Marshall and drafting Kevin White who promptly missed the whole year with an injury. Eddie Royal missed a good chunk of time. Martellus Bennett missed time. Jeffery missed time. Life without both Marshall and Jeffery did not look good Chicago.
Jeffery is entering the prime of his career and will be seeking a deal that reflects closely to the five-year contracts players like Dez Bryant and Julio Jones signed. However, injuries have clouded any production on the field and will be brought into question when negotiating a new deal. The bottom line is the Bears cannot afford to let Jeffery walk away with unknown talent behind him.
"Obviously when Alshon played he was explosive and a playmaker for our offense," general manager Ryan Pace said, via ESPN.com. "The previous two seasons he'd been healthy and highly productive. He was frustrated by his injuries. We were frustrated by his injuries. We got to get a better grasp of that. Part of the evaluation of a player is his injuries and his availability. We'll take that into account."
Forte is a different story. While no one is questioning the running back's abilities on the field, his age is not kind to him. Over the 30-year mark, Forte is not going to get offered the type of contract he wants and the Bears are certainly not going to give it to him. When Forte went down this season, rookie Jeremy Langford stepped in and was a star. He immediately made Forte expendable. The running back knows his time with the franchise might be over, but nothing has been determined yet.
"[Pace] said he has a lot of respect for me. I have a lot of respect for him," Forte said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. "The time will come when we have that conversation. Everybody's acting like it's a going-away party, like a funeral or something. No decisions have been made. I can be back."
The contract demands of Forte will play a big role in whether or not he returns. The veteran cannot demand too much or the Bears will let him walk away. However, if he were to agree to a hometown discount, Forte might not be gone from the franchise.