Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte will be a free agent at the end of the 2015 season, and although he’s been a tremendous player over the past eight years, he is not optimistic that he will be a part of the team’s plans moving forward.
“I mean, I want to return, yeah,” he told the media at Halas Hall on Wednesday. “But if you’re saying ‘Am I hopeful that I do return,’ there’s not much to hope for right now. Because like I said, I talked to (the Bears’ front office) earlier and they haven’t said anything back. So there’s nothing really to hope for.”
Forte, whom the Bears drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, has rushed for 8,472 yards and 45 touchdowns during his career with the Bears, and he’s also hauled in 18 touchdown receptions over that stretch. Forte also set an NFL record in 2014 by catching 102 passes as a running back, but even with that performance, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be back in Chicago next year.
In each of the past two drafts, the Bears have picked up running backs, selecting Ka’Deem Carey in 2014 and Jeremy Langford in this year’s selection show. Both players have gotten plenty of opportunities this season, with Langford getting the majority of the carries after Forte went down with an injury for the Bears.
For Bears fans looking for a crumb of comfort, Forte did seem to indicate that he’d be willing to take less money to stay in Chicago.
“I always look at staying home and being here where I’ve been the past eight years,” he said. “That’s a major factor. Teammates I’ve grown around and they know me and I know them and I’ve been able to even mentor some of the younger guys.”
If the Bears do decide to bring Forte back, they’ll have plenty of money to draw from, as they’re currently second in the NFL in salary cap space going into the offseason.