Bears impending free agent RB Matt Forte said that he wants to be back with the Bears, but admitted “there’s not much hope” for a new deal.
“I mean, I want to return,” Forte said, via the Associated Press. “But if you’re saying am I hopeful that I do return? There’s not much to hope for right now because like I’ve said, I talked to (general manager Ryan Pace) earlier and they haven’t said anything back.
“So there’s nothing really to hope for.”
Forte said that his agent spoke to Bears GM Ryan Pace previously, but he said that they were still in the process of making determinations regarding their roster.
“Kind of politically correct type deal,” Forte said of Pace’s comments. “I would respect it more if it was just like, ‘Look we’re not going to re-sign you,’ or anything like that because then I would know.”
Forte mentioned that he told Pace during the offseason that he was willing to rework his deal to reduce his cap figure.
“I kind of went to them and was like, ‘I have a high cap number, why not, let’s do something now where it’s reasonable and it’s a good amount where I’ll get to retire a Bear.’ Everybody’s happy,” Forte said. “But I’m not looking for a huge contract deal like I did coming out with my second contract because I know I turned 30. And you know, most 30-year-old running backs don’t get those type of deals like I did the second time.”
Forte made it clear that he isn’t willing to play for a minimum deal, but finishing his career with the Bears is a “major factor.”
“You know, not obviously playing at league minimum or anything like that, but obviously respectful,” he said. “But at the same time, I always look at staying home and being here where I’ve been the past eight years. That’s a major factor.
“Teammates I’ve grown around and they know me and I know them and I’ve been able to even mentor some of the younger guys. And I also like the legacy part and continuing on with that fact.”
Forte, 29, is in the final year of his four-year, $30.4 million contract that included $13.8 million guaranteed. He’ll make a base salary of $6.65 million before testing the open market next year.
This season, Forte has appeared in 11 games and ran for 768 yards on 190 carries (4 YPC) to go along with 38 receptions for 332 yards receiving and six total touchdowns for the Bears. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 29 running back out of 67 qualifying players.
We have Forte listed as the No. 22 free agent in our Top 25 – 2016 NFL Free Agents list.