Late last week, former Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte announced via his various social media accounts that the team had decided not to re-sign him, making him a free agent. Despite several injuries, Forte has been one of the most productive players at the running back position for the last few seasons, and will be one of the top backs on the market.
Given his skill set, which includes remarkable elusiveness, catching passes out of the backfield and the ability to consistently pick up yards on the ground, New England Patriots fans immediately saw a fit between the team and Forte. Forte has expressed that he is willing to take a pay cut from his market value if he is able to join a contender, making the Patriots an even more viable option.
Earlier today, I skimmed through an article on Bleacher Report breaking down the possible destinations for Forte. The Patriots were one of about six teams that the author mentioned, but in his portion on New England, he noted that a Forte signing would be "redundant" due to the fact that the Patriots have Dion Lewis.
On the surface, I guess that makes a bit of sense. But if you really think about it, that reasoning is absurd.
Sure, both players have made names for themselves due in large part to their ability to pick up yards by catching passes, but the two skill sets really aren't the same. With Lewis, you have a guy who is never a threat to run the ball. If he is lined up in the backfield next to Brady, the Patriots are without a doubt throwing the ball. Granted, he is a dynamic receiver, but that's where it ends. Plus, Lewis is coming off an ACL tear, so we really have no idea if he'll be the same player.
With Forte, you get a much more balanced player. He is not as explosive of a receiver as Lewis is, but he is still highly effective catching passes. He is also bigger than Lewis, giving him an advantage running the football.
Sure, in certain ways the two players are alike. But at the same time, the Patriots need someone who is a threat to run the ball. Tom Brady got killed the last few weeks of the season due in part to a lack of a running threat in the backfield, and Forte would instantly fix that. You can never have too many playmakers, and if the Patriots don't pursue Matt Forte just because they have Dion Lewis, they're missing a huge opportunity.
By Jacob Young