Ryan Pace went out of his way to salute the Bears running backs room in his postseason presser and why wouldn’t he? Matt Forte, Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey were arguably the most versatile and dynamic backfield in the league.
Forte can do everything. Langford looks like he’ll be able to do everything. Carey was the ideal third back, most useful in short yardage and down around the goal line. (He also contributed on specials.)
Six weeks ago I would have said the Bears were crazy to re-sign Forte at his age and somewhat declining skills but my tune has changed significantly. Why? A few reasons.
(1) Bears are building a power run offensive line and having two top of the line backs was how John Fox found success in Carolina.
(2) Short passing game is essential to this offense and Bears may not be ready to allow Langford to exclusively assume that role as he’s been far too inconsistent catching the ball in big spots.
(3) Forte is still really good and there’s no reason to believe he’s going to fall off the cliff in 2016. Bears shouldn’t break the bank and bring him in on a long-term deal but two years at $5M per is reasonable and fair.
I’ve heard the arguments against it, including from myself. With the Bears having so many needs to fill, why put any money into a position of strength? Because WITHOUT Forte in the fold, the Bears would be an awkward cut by Jeremy Langford away from relying upon either (a) Carey to become an every down back or (b) another mid-to-late round rookie to pick up the system in his first year and make a large contribution.
With Forte back at a reasonable rate in 2016 the Bears may enter the season with the greatest collection of skill guys in the organization’s history. Without him, the Bears will be looking again to the draft.