Although Matt Forte and the Green Bay Packers have had their fair share of battles over the past eight NFL seasons, the two sides may unite in the upcoming days. The Packers are coming off a disappointing second-place finish in the NFC North and will now reportedly look to bolster their backfield by adding Forte in free agency.
Forte is coming off a poor season by his standards, tallying only 898 rushing yards and four touchdowns. However, given his track record, Forte could provide a much-needed energy boost to the Packers rushing offense. Although the 30-year-old running back may be closing in on the end of his career, Forte still has enough left in the tank to make a valuable contribution. His versatility has always been his biggest strength, as Forte has caught over 50 passes in six out of his eight seasons in the NFL. In Green Bay, there is no doubt that Aaron Rodgers would only reinforce Forte’s receiving skills.
According to ESPN‘s Adam Schefter, Green Bay was immediately intrigued about bringing on Forte once the organization learned that Chicago would not be re-signing him.
As ESPN notes, a move of this magnitude would be rare for Ted Thompson. However, passing up on an elite talent like Forte could prove to be costly down the road.
“Although it would be out of character for Packers general manager Ted Thompson to make an immediate splash — or even a ripple — in the early stages of free agency, Forte is an intriguing prospect because of his versatility as both a ball carrier and a receiver out of the backfield.”
It is possible that the Packers may hesitate in making such a notable splash early in the offseason, but a legitimate opportunity to sign a playmaker like Forte is rare. Over the course of his career, Forte has been a go-to guy with the Bears, and taking a step back with Green Bay could benefit both parties. Over the last three seasons, Forte has carried Chicago’s workload, averaging over 22.0 touches per game. With injuries hampering the Bears’ offense, Forte was always the one constant bright spot. Despite only one playoff appearance in Chicago, Forte has never been a distraction.
Now, as Forte’s prime years come to a close, the Packers’ wide array of offensive weapons is an appealing component of Forte’s upcoming decision. Most notably, pairing him in a backfield with another talented running back in Eddie Lacy would allow the Packers to limit Forte’s usage and possibly elongate the veteran’s career.
Not only would Forte provide an added dimension to Green Bay’s offense, but ESPN notes that his addition could also have another positive consequence.
“The Packers have made no secret about their desire to light a fire under Eddie Lacy, who has been instructed to lose weight this offseason.”
Whether or not Forte’s addition would motivate Lacy to pick up his game is questionable. However, it is undeniable that adding a much more consistent weapon in Green Bay’s backfield is necessary, and few running backs in the NFL have been more consistent than Forte over the past eight seasons. Forte has tallied over 1,200 yards in every single season he has been in the league. Unlike Lacy, Forte can be counted upon week in and week out, a crucial selling point for an offense that is searching for less volatility.
In the end, the Packers will not be the only team interested in signing Forte. Forte will be one of the most coveted players this offseason, and it is no guarantee that Green Bay has what it takes to land him. However, if the Packers do wind up with Forte, their prospective Super Bowl chances will improve definitively.
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