Matt Forte is one of the top targets hitting the free agent market this offseason and teams like the New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions could be potential landing spots for the running back. Forte confirmed that the Chicago Bears will not try to re-sign him this offseason, meaning he will be playing elsewhere in 2016.
Forte has been one of the most productive backs in football during his career with the Bears and now he will be moving on from Chicago. Forte announced the news in an Instagram post, writing that the team informed him that they will not be trying to sign him back on a new contract for next season. Forte is 30 and the Bears are content to move ahead with Jeremy Langford as their main starter for next season.
Forte is coming off of his least productive season in Chicago since starting his career, but he still put up solid numbers despite missing three games with a knee injury. Forte had over 1000 total yards last season and over the past three years he has caught over 200 balls out of the backfield. That skillset should make him a top target on the free agent market and he could slot in with a number of teams as the second running back.
The New England Patriots could be an option for Forte, as Mike Reiss at ESPN Boston writes that he could be a "perfect fit" for the offense the team runs. Reiss reports that the team likely will "explore the possibility" of signing Forte, as Dion Lewis is coming off of an ACL injury and LeGarrette Blount may not return in free agency. The Patriots dealt with numerous injuries on offense last season and they are expected to address that side of the ball in free agency.
Lamar Miller may leave the Dolphins in free agency and that could open up Miami as an option for Forte as well. The Dallas Cowboys are expected to add more depth for Darren McFadden and that could make Forte a target for the team. Jason McIntyre at The Big Lead writes that the Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers could be options for Forte, as both teams are expected to address the running back position this offseason.
Forte has been productive during his career in Chicago and over the past four seasons he has put up over 1000 rushing yards three times. Forte had a career-high 102 receptions in 2014 and he has proven to be one of the best pass-catching running backs in the NFL during his time in Chicago. Forte should have no trouble finding suitors in free agency this offseason.