The Chicago Bears recently informed running back Matt Forte that they will not be extending him a contract offer for the 2016 season. The 30 year old Forte suffered a knee injury in Week 8 of the 2015 season and missed the next three games. Upon his return, the former workhorse back split carries with Jeremy Langford, who proved to be an effective replacement during his rookie campaign. For the 2015 season, Forte posted 898 rushing yards with an average yards per carry of 4.1, chipping in 389 receiving yards on 44 receptions with seven combined touchdowns.
The 6'1" 220 pound running back has been highly productive throughout his first-eight NFL seasons. Forte's career stats boast 45 rushing touchdowns and 19 receiving touchdowns with a career yards per carry mark of 4.2. Forte has proven to be relatively durable during his career, playing in all 16 games five times and never missing more than four games in a season while playing at a high impact position.
In two seasons playing under current Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, Forte emerged as one of the premier receiving backs in the league. Between 2013 and 2014, Forte amassed 176 catches for an average of eight yards per catch.
Forte would certainly be an asset to Trestman's offense and an upgrade over Justin Forsett as the lead running back for the Ravens. The biggest question is his effectiveness going forward since Forte has handled more than 2,500 touches in his career with 993 touches over the last three seasons. Running backs often decline rapidly once they reach 30 years old, yet Forte's efficiency and versatility should allow him to produce at a high level for a couple more seasons, especially in a running back by committee situation.
The Ravens must choose wisely with their precious salary cap space this offseason, but if Forte is willing to sign for a short term low cost contract, he could form a potent one - two punch with the Ravens emerging running back Buck Allen. Playing for a perennial contender in an offensive system he is comfortable with may be the right opportunity for Forte. However, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome will only sign him if the price is right.