Chicago Bears running back, Matt Forte, is asking for a contract extension that would put him among the top ten highest paid backs. But does he really deserve it?
The Bears selected Forte, out of Tulane, in the second round of the 2008 draft. Forte immediately grabbed the starting job when the Bears parted ways with troubled running back, Cedric Benson. As a first year starter, Forte impressed everyone around the Bears organization by leading the team in total yards. But was his rookie season overrated? Did Fantasy Football make him look like a better running back?
Forte was ranked in the top five of fantasy running backs in the 2008/2009 season. However, the fantasy stats make Forte seem like a better runner than he actually is. Forte received many fantasy points for his receiving yards. The points gained by receiving yards made him look like a great running back. However, in his rookie season, Forte averaged just 3.9 yards a carry. Not bad, but nothing special compared to other elite backs. Just an average yards per carry for Forte.
Then in the 2009/2010 season. Forte’s numbers dropped. With a new quarterback and a better passing attack, Forte did not improve. Slowed down by injury, Forte lost some speed and ability. Again Forte had just an average rushing season with just 3.6 yards per carry.
In his third season with the Bears, Forte made some improvements. His average yard per carry jumped up to 4.5 yards per carry. However, it is important to remember that his stats were boosted by big games against terrible teams. Versus the league’s worst, Carolina Panthers, Forte rushed for 166 on 22 carries(7.5avg). Forte also had six games when he averaged less than three yards a carry and 9games with an average under 4 yards a carry.
Compared to the elite running backs’ talent, Forte is just a “good” back. Forte does not have a “run you over” power like Adrian Peterson, breakaway speed like Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles, or the ability to make defenders miss like the rest of the great running backs in the league. So why should Forte be paid like a top running back?