November 10, 2011
Matt Forte is in the middle of his first contract year. He fought with his team, the Chicago Bears, to give him the big contract that he thought that he has earned, but the two sides failed to reach an agreement before the season started despite him being their only viable option on offense. At 6’3” and 221 pounds, he has been one of the most talented and most consistent football players that the league has seen in the last decade. In his first three years he posted 3236 rushing yards, 1495 receiving yards, and 25 touchdowns. In the first 8 games of this season, his first contract year, Forte has 672 rushing yards, 419 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns with an absurd yards per carry average of 5.4 yards.
Forte is the real deal. His running style blends together the physical running style of Jamal Lewis, a big bruising back, and the skill set of Priest Holmes, a small, quick back that was equally as deadly out of the backfield as he was as a receiver. Forte’s size allows him to punish and wear down defenders, and his soft hands allow his team to create mismatches for coaches while giving him more opportunities to touch the football. He is his team’s best option on the football field. He leads the Bears in both rushing and receiving yards this year, as he has done for two of the last three years, despite this season being the first time since his rookie year that the Bears have run their offense through him. The Chicago Bears management team, to their detriment, thought that the arrival of Jay Cutler would solve their receiving woes. They found that he was just as turnover prone as Rex Grossman who preceded him at quarterback and that they had mediocre receivers. In the last two seasons, the Bears have struggled offensively because they chose not to utilize Forte. This season, Chicago is 4-3 riding behind the most prolific season that Forte has produced thus far.
Matt Forte is the heart of the Bears offense. His 5.1 average per carry over the past three seasons rivals the 5.1 average of Adrian Peterson, the best pure running back in the NFL, and surpasses the 5.0 average of Chris Johnson, the most explosive playmaker. Adrian Peterson was the highest paid running back with a seven year, $100 million contract before Chris Johnson scored a huge 4 year, $13.4 million dollar per year contract extension this season. Now is the time for the Bears to secure Forte as their running back of the future. He is entering the prime years of his career, and has shown his unique package of skills and natural ability in full this season. Because of Forte’s outstanding play, his team is once again in contention for the playoffs. To move forward and begin the next step towards competing for a NFL championship, the Chicago Bears need to secure their best player. Hopefully, they will make the right choice.