Now that the Super Bowl is behind us, rumors regarding the Dallas Cowboys and their offseason plans are starting to heat up. After a disappointing season where the team finished with a dreadful 4-12 record in the awful NFC East, the Cowboys are hoping for a resurgence in 2016. With quarterback Tony Romo expected to be fully healthy for opening day, the Cowboys could be poised to pick up where they left off after winning the NFC East in 2014.
As ESPN reported, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte will not return to the team for the 2016 season. While Forte is now 30-years-old, he really did not seem to slow down during the 2015 season. Injuries and the emergence of running back Jeremy Langford limited Forte’s production, but he was still very effective when he touched the football. He rushed 218 times for 898 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games. He also added 44 receptions for 389 yards and another three touchdowns.
With a full workload, Forte could have finished the 2015 season as one of the top running backs in the NFL. While it makes sense that the Bears want to incorporate Langford into the offense more, Forte appears to have a lot left in the tank. As Forte posted on his Instagram, he also feels as though he is not done playing football.
Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end. I was informed earlier this week from the GM that they will not be attempting to re-sign me in free agency. I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history. My only regret is not being able to win a Lombardi trophy for the best fans in all of sports. I'm excited about the next chapter of my NFL career. But, Chicago will always be home. God Bless and Bear Down!
Bears general manager Ryan Pace also spoke about the team cutting ties with their longtime running back.
“We recently met with Matt to inform him we will not extend a contract offer for the 2016 season. These decisions are never easy, especially given what Matt has meant to our team and community. We have a tremendous amount of respect for him. Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season. He was a tremendous teammate. We thank him for his professionalism and wish him the very best as he continues his career.”
With Forte available and the Dallas Cowboys needing a better option at running back, many fans and analysts took to Twitter to call for his signing.
— Arthur Arkush (@ArthurArkush) February 12, 2016
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) February 12, 2016
— #WeDemBoyz (@DemBoyzNation) February 12, 2016
And it makes perfect sense for the Cowboys. While he is getting up there in age, Forte more than likely has a few productive seasons left. While Tony Romo is still an elite quarterback when healthy, he is going to turn 36-years-old in April. In an extremely weak NFC East, where the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants are rebuilding with new coaches, the Cowboys have a real opportunity to make some noise during Romo’s last few years.
While Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins are currently the darlings of the NFC East, they were not exactly a great team last year. The division truly is up for grabs, and the Cowboys have as good a shot as any of the other three teams. Running behind the Cowboys’ elite offensive line, Forte could make life much easier for Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant.
While Romo and Bryant missed most of the last year, the team still struggled to run the ball behind their strong offensive line. Losing DeMarco Murray hurt, but the team never found a suitable replacement. Out of the many options used last year, journeyman running back Darren McFadden found the most success. His stats of 1,089 yards and three touchdowns was solid, but Matt Forte could do so much more in the Cowboys’ offensive system.
NFL.com lists the Dallas Cowboys as the third best fit in the NFL for Forte. While they list the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks as better fits, the Cowboys really have as good a shot as either of the teams in need of a running back. It really comes down to whether or not Jerry Jones will go after him.
Rumors will continue to come out over the next few weeks regarding Matt Forte’s destination, and the Dallas Cowboys are truly one of the best fits in the league for the veteran running back.
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]