A running back is one of the few offseason priorities for the New England Patriots. The team does not need a lot of upgrades, but they do need help at the running back position as LeGarrette Blount departs from free agency leaving James White as maybe the only solid rusher on the roster. While Dion Lewis is expected to return healthy in 2016, the team needs a solid workhorse back and Matt Forte could be that favored player.
Even at 30, Forte enters free agency as one of the best rushers available on the market. The Chicago Bears have announced they will not bring Forte back in 2016, leaving him free for the taking and ESPN.com believes the Patriots are the favored landing spot. After clarifying that championships, not money, will determine where he signs in 2016, the Patriots have all the qualities Forte is looking for.
According to Evan Silva of Rotoworld is reporting that the chances Blount returns to New England are slim and part of that is because of the availability of Forte. While head coach Bill Belichick has always been a big fan of Blount's, the injury history might be too much to overlook after a hip injury ended the running back's season early. The emergence of James White along with the success of Lewis overshadowed anything Blount did last year and will leave him on the free agent market this offseason.
Forte going to the Patriots depends mostly on his contract demands. New England is in a good spot financially, but they cannot afford a high-priced running back regardless of what Forte brings to the table. The 30-year-old is durable and dependable, but his position is undervalued and that will come up in contract talks. Regardless, the Patriots would be wise to sign him before someone else as several other teams are being linked to him at the start of the offseason.
The Patriots could be looking for several other offensive upgrades. The team is in need of a more athletic wide receiver to pair with Julian Edelman. The Boston Herald is reporting that the Patriots could part ways with either Brandon LaFell or Danny Amendola in the coming offseason in order to seek out an upgrade. Players like Rishard Matthews or Jermaine Kearse could be targets along with Will Fuller, Josh Doctson or Braxton Miller in the NFL Draft. Releasing either Amendola or LaFell frees up a good bit of change for the Patriots and could open the door for Forte's contract.