The New England Patriots may look at Matt Forte as a potential free agent addition this offseason after dealing with injuries at running back through the 2015 season. Reports have the team considering Forte, while Braxton Miller could be a draft target for the Pats in the 2016 NFL draft.
Forte is hitting the free agent market after a long career with the Bears and the team is not expected to retain him this offseason. Jeff Dickerson at ESPN Chicago reports that the chances of Forte returning to the Bears are "slight" for the 2016 season. Forte told the Associated Press earlier in the season that there was "not much to hope for" regarding a new contract from the Bears after the team did not engage in contract extension talks during the season with Forte.
Forte said that he is interested in returning to the Bears, but as things stand now, the running back is likely going to be in a different uniform for 2016. Mike Reiss at ESPN Boston writes that the Patriots may "explore the possibility" of signing Forte as a free agent this offseason. The team dealt with multiple injuries at the running back position last season with Dion Lewis and LeGarrette Blount going down and that could lead to the team adding some depth this winter.
Lewis is returning, while Blount is a free agent and may not end up signing back with the team. Reiss added that Forte said on the NFL Network last week that moving forward, he is focusing on winning and not money, saying: "It's not even about the money. I want to be in Super Bowls." That mindset could lead Forte to sign with a team like the Patriots and he could be a perfect fit for what the team does on offense. Forte is one of the best backs in the league at catching the ball out of the backfield and while he is 30, he has still shown that he can be productive.
The Patriots likely will be looking for some offensive upgrades and depth options this offseason after dealing with injuries on that side of the ball this season. According to DraftInsider.net, the Patriots, Steelers and Chiefs are all looking at Braxton Miller as a potential option in the second round of the draft. Miller is coming out of Ohio State as a wide receiver and he could be a fit for the Pats after putting up 340 receiving yards and 261 rushing yards last season for the Buckeyes.