The Chicago Bears are officially letting Matt Forte walk away into free agency which means the team has full confidence Jeremy Langford can carry the rushing load in 2016. As a rookie, the running back put up 537 yards and six touchdowns in limited time on the field. He certainly showed the potential to have a lot of success in Chicago, but can he do it all on his own or will the Bears have to make an addition to help him out?
There is little concern that Langford is not ready to take over as the leading rusher. The rookie averaged 3.6 yards per carry while also excelling in the receiving game. More importantly, he spent all year learning behind Forte which he said he set himself up for success.
"What Matt gave to me is unexplainable," Langford said, via the Chicago Tribune. "Even the way he handled himself with his injury and not having his best season, he always kept a positive mindset and didn't let anything affect his work. I can't count how many things I learned from him. It was most definitely a blessing for me to be with him."
While there is confidence in Langford, there is not confidence in the depth on the roster. Behind the running back is Ka'Deem Carey who made an impact on special teams while trying to get bursts of yards with the little time he was on the field. Jacquizz Rodgers was the third-string option, but he is a free agent this summer. The Bears might like the idea of re-signing him, but that does little for the talent level behind Langford.
With Langford inserted as the leading back, the Bears will not spend money on the running back position. The team could look at options like James Starks, Bilal Powell, Ronnie Hillman or someone like Lance Dunbar, but with money needed elsewhere on the roster, they cannot afford to spend big on the role. The Bears could instead look to the draft for help in depth. Ezekiel Elliott recently told media that he would love to play for Chicago, but he will be gone before the Bears decide to draft a running back. Kenneth Dixon and Alex Collins could be the next-best options for the team. They will not be selected until the third-round at the earliest and could be a great addition for the Bears who would be favoring youth in the backfield.