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
Despite a decorated eight-year career, Chicago made no effort to re-sign Forte in the offseason, with team officials stating on multiple occasions that the club had extreme confidence in younger running backs Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey.
The second-most productive running back in Bears' history, Forte amassed 8,602 rushing yards and 4,116 receiving yards. The 30-year old running back leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage since 2008.
“Matt is a great guy, a great Bear and a great tribute to our organization,” Bears coach John Fox said at the NFL owners meetings. “But we felt really good about our younger players like Jeremy Langford, who we drafted the year before, Ka’Deem Carey and Jacquizz Rodgers. Those are guys we felt could carry that position. It was more or less getting draft picks and trying to improve our team. Going youthful.”
An unrestricted free agent, Forte went on to sign a three-year deal with the New York Jets that included $9 million in guarantees.
A short time later, however, the Bears reportedly offered Anderson – a restricted free agent at the time – a four-year, $19 million offer sheet. Anderson, who played for Fox in Denver, eventually chose to sign a slightly less lucrative offer sheet with Adam Gase and the Miami Dolphins. The Broncos, though, matched Miami’s offer and kept Anderson in Denver.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace chalked up his interest in Anderson to the fact he did not expect the Broncos to place a low restricted-free-agency tender on the running back, a move that made it much easier for teams to pursue Anderson, 25, without having to give Denver any compensation in return. Fox’s familiarity with Anderson also played a role in Chicago’s failed attempt to sign him.