Matt Forte is hitting the free agent market this offseason and the running back is not expected to return to the Chicago Bears. Forte should be a top target among the running back class and teams like the Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots and New York Giants could be interested in signing him.
Forte is coming off of his worst season with the Bears and now that he has hit 30, it's not looking likely that the team will re-sign him in free agency. The Bears did not engage in contract talks with Forte during the season and the emergence of rookie Jeremy Langford is another factor in the move. Forte has been one of the most productive backs in football during his career and there should be a number of teams looking to sign him as a free agent.
Forte is one of the best players in the league at catching the ball out of the backfield and that could make him a nice fit for the New England Patriots. Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston writes that Forte could be a target for the team in free agency, as the Patriots dealt with multiple injuries at the position last season and will need some depth for next season. Dion Lewis is returning after going down with an injury, but LeGarrette Blount is hitting free agency and may not be back.
Reiss writes that Forte "could be a multi-purpose weapon" for Tom Brady and could slot in well as a backup running back on the roster. Forte was quoted on the NFL Network last week saying that his future is "not even about the money. I want to be in Super Bowls." That mindset could lead Forte to a team like the Patriots this offseason. Over the past three seasons Forte has combined to catch over 200 balls out of the backfield and that makes him an appealing target for the Patriots.
Jeff Dickerson at ESPN Chicago writes that Forte's chances of returning to the Bears are "slight" this offseason. Forte spoke about his contract situation earlier in the season, saying to the Associated Press that there is "nothing really to hope for" regarding a new deal from the Bears. Forte said that he is interested in returning to Chicago, but that the team did not engage in any contract talks with him during the season.
The Miami Dolphins have Lamar Miller hitting free agency and there is a chance he may not return to the team, making Forte a potential replacement option. The Dallas Cowboys could look at Forte as an option to add depth behind Darren McFadden, while the Raiders, Giants and 49ers also could target the running back this offseason.