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Bears' free-agent watch: Matt Forte pessimistic about return

Here is the fourth in an 18-part series examining the Chicago Bears' unrestricted free agents.

Name: Matt Forte

Position: Running back

Age: 30

NFL experience: Eight years

2015 salary: $7.050 million base salary plus roster bonuses, workout bonus and incentives

2015 key statistics: 218 rushing attempts for 898 yards and four touchdowns; 44 receptions for 389 yards and three touchdowns.

Probability to return: Slight

Outlook: Forte wants to finish his decorated career in Chicago, but only at an acceptable price. That may not happen. General manager Ryan Pace turned down Forte's request for an extension last offseason, and as of a couple weeks ago, the Bears were still not ready to hold any meaningful contract talks.

"I mean, I want to return," Forte said on Dec. 23. "But if you're saying, am I hopeful that I do return? There is not much to hope for that right now because like I said, I talked to [the Bears' front office] earlier and they haven't said anything back. So there's nothing really to hope for."

I haven't been approached or anything. But do I want to come back? Yes. That would be ideal for me, but that doesn't always happen in this business."

Forte's best bet is to test free agency and give Chicago a chance to match. But with Jeremy Langford ready to assume a larger role on offense, the Bears will not overpay to keep Forte around for another couple of years.