The Chicago Bears and tailback Matt Forte parted ways this month when the ninth-year back signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the New York Jets. It seemed like an amicable split until the Bears started their search for his backfield successor.
It was reported that general manager Ryan Pace was pursuing Denver Broncos back C.J. Anderson, and even though he remained at Mile High, Forte may have felt a little disrespected by the Bears neglecting to even offer him a contract. He expressed those thoughts via Twitter when responding to a post about Chicago pushing hard for Anderson after simply letting Forte walk out the door.
Me either RT @singinsince3: The way Ryan Pace went after CJ Anderson after not even offering Forte a contract doesnt sit well with me!!
— Matt Forte (@MattForte22) March 23, 2016
Forte was a two-time Pro Bowl selection with Chicago and was a consistent performer out of the backfield. He ran for 1,000-plus yards in five of his eight seasons and set a single-season NFL record in 2014 by catching 102 passes as a tailback. Forte had his most disappointing season in 2015, rushing for 898 yards in 13 games.
Anderson went undrafted in 2013, but since signing with the Broncos, he’s shown flashes of being a really good NFL tailback. He’s never been a true feature back in Denver but had his best showing in the second half of the 2014 season when he rushed for 648 yards over the final six regular season games.
It’s always difficult to part ways with a player who has been so successful in his time with your franchise, but running backs are tricky. Injuries are common and players at the position usually have a shorter career than most others. Logically speaking, Forte probably doesn’t have a lot of great years left in his career.
Anderson hasn’t dazzled by any means at this early juncture in his career, but he’s had moderate success and has much fresher legs than Forte. He also just won a Super Bowl and was a huge contributor throughout the postseason. It’s not surprising at all that multiple teams pursued him before he ultimately decided to stay with the Broncos.
The Jets expect Forte to be an every down back next season. If he can stay healthy, I expect him to contribute and make the offense better if the team can also bring back Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback.