Matt Forte to Patriots? Bill Belichick had high praise for RB in 2014
The Patriots could be a landing spot for Matt Forte based on team needs and Bill Belichick's praise.
Andrew Weber / USA TODAY Sports
By Cameron DaSilva
The Matt Forte era in Chicago is all but over after the two-time Pro Bowler announced on Instagram that the Bears won't be re-signing him. Despite being 30 years old, Forte has been relatively durable over the course of his career in the "Windy City."
It seems, however, that the Bears would like to go in a different direction with the younger Jeremy Langford waiting in the wings.
If and when he gets cut, one team that may be interested in Forte is New England. The Patriots, who aren't known to be big spenders at running back, are in need of a bell cow. LeGarrette Blount missed the end of the season due to a hip injury and will be a free agent in March.
Dion Lewis, the team's best scat back, is coming off of a torn ACL and doesn't have a long track record of being a reliable running back.
The Patriots love to throw the ball with Tom Brady at the helm, but balancing the offense with a solid tailback should be a priority. After all, Brady isn't getting any younger.
Bill Belichick will have a large say in whether New England signs Forte or not, but he likes him as a player. The man in the hoodie had some very high praise for Forte back in 2014 when the Patriots faced the Bears.
In that game, Forte had 114 rushing yards on 19 attempts, and added 54 receiving yards and touchdown on six catches. Needless to say, Belichick was impressed with Forte's ability then, and likely is now, as well.
"He’s a threat every time he steps on to the field in a number of different ways: passing game, running game," Belichick said. "Any time he gets the ball in his hands he’s a good solid player. He’s tough, great vision, great balance. He definitely has the ability to turn nothing into something in a hurry and he can turn something into a lot in a hurry too. Hard guy to tackle, does a good job of creating space for himself and finding openings, getting to places where there are fewer defenders and then taking advantage of it. But even when he’s boxed in or guys get a shot of him, he still makes yards. He’s a terrific player. Couldn’t say enough good things about him. He’s very good. He gets tough yards, gets yards in space. Catches short passes, runs downfield routes. He’s a very, very complete player."
To take a step back for a moment, bringing Forte to New England will come down to much more than Belichick's preference. Money will play a large role in both sides' decisions.
As it stands right now, the Patriots have just around $2.24 million in cap space. That number will improve in the coming weeks following the potential cuts of guys like Jerod Mayo, Brandon LaFell and Scott Chandler.
Fortunately, whomever wants Forte may not have to throw a lot of money at him -- so long as they're winners.
"It's not even about the money," Forte said. "I want to be in the Super Bowls."
Among the teams looking for a running back, the Patriots are at the top of the list regarding their Super Bowl chances. Since Forte came into the league in 2008, the Patriots have missed the playoffs just once and made it to two Super Bowls. Forte, on the other hand, has made the playoffs just once (2010).
Numerous teams will be interested in the stud running back. One thing's almost certain: he's going to pick a winner. And the Patriots are among the winningest teams in the NFL.