Chicago running back Matt Forte confirmed he will not be resigned by the Bears.
In an Instagram post Friday morning, Forte said GM Ryan Pace informed him this week that the front office will not pursue the free agent this off-season.
“Despite my wishes, my days as a member of the Chicago Bears have sadly come to an end,” Forte began. “I will remain forever grateful for my time spent in Chicago and being able to play for an organization with such a rich history.”
Forte, who is 30, has played all eight years of his NFL career in Chicago, totaling 8,602 yards on the ground and scoring 64 times. He was the anchor for the running back corps last season during John Fox’s first year as head coach, rushing for 898 yards while also receiving 389 yards on 44 catches.
By not signing Forte, the Bears are freeing up at least $7.050 million of cap space —his base salary last year. It also gives Jeremy Langford a chance to play a larger role in the Chicago offense. Langford ran for 537 yards and six TDs in his rookie season last year.
“My only regret is not being able to win a Lombardi trophy for the best fans in all of sports. I’m excited about the next chapter of my NFL career. But, Chicago will always be home,” Forte said.
One possible place for Forte to land is Green Bay, home of Chicago’s archrival Packers. The team did not get much production out of usually reliable Eddie Lacy last season and James Starks is a free agent. The question, though, is whether Green Bay wants to risk paying a 30-year-old to replace a 29-year-old Starks, especially as running back production tends to decline once the player turns 30.
Despite the number, Forte has not shown signs of slowing down the way other backs do at his age, with his 4.1 yards per carry on par with his career average of 4.2 and slightly better than the 3.9 yards per carry he had in 2014. He also has only had one major injury during his time in the NFL, what the Bears initially called a high ankle sprain in 2012. He missed just one game.