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Following a stellar eight-year run in the Windy City, Matt Forte is moving on from the Chicago Bears.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Forte and the New York Jets agreed to terms on a deal Wednesday that will make the running back a member of Gang Green. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport confirmed the news, although terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.
Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman was among those impressed with the pact:
I love Matt Forte to the Jets. Love it. Excellent move.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) March 9, 2016
Chicago's decision to let Forte walk made plenty of sense based on Jeremy Langford's emergence throughout the 2015 season, but there's no doubt the 30-year-old still has plenty left to offer.
While he's never been the quickest or most electric runner, he has smooth cutback capabilities that make him a threat to rip off solid chunks of yards every time he touches the ball.
On Feb. 12, WEEI's Christopher Price relayed an old quote from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick that highlighted Forte's versatile skill set:
Bill Belichick on Matt Forte, October 2014 pic.twitter.com/7o343yWZiG— Christopher Price (@cpriceNFL) February 12, 2016
As Belichick alluded to, Forte has been one of the best pass-catching backs the league has ever seen.
Case in point: Since entering the NFL in 2008, Forte has recorded 50 catches in six different seasons. Ray Rice ranks No. 2 during that span with five such campaigns, and Darren Sproles ranks third with four.
Matt Forte's Production by Season Season Games Played Rush Yds Rush TD Receptions Rec. Yds Rec. TD 2008 16 1,238 8 63 477 4 2009 16 929 4 57 471 0 2010 16 1,069 6 51 547 3 2011 12 997 3 52 490 1 2012 15 1,094 5 44 340 1 2013 16 1,339 9 74 594 3 2014 16 1,038 6 102 808 4 2015 13 898 4 44 389 3
NFL Network painted Forte's production over the past eight years in broader strokes:
MOST YDs FROM SCRIMMAGE [SINCE '08]
1) @MattForte22 [12,718]
2) @AdrianPeterson [12,003]
3) @ChrisJohnson28 [11,654]
4) Megatron [10,978]
Forte still has plenty of tread left on his tires—as a 4.1 yard-per-carry average last season indicated—so he should still be able to operate as a primary rusher who handles anywhere between 60 and 70 percent of the workload.
And while running backs on the wrong side of 30 have been stigmatized for their loss of explosion and decreased effectiveness, Forte can take solace in the fact that Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson and DeAngelo Williams played well to varying degrees throughout the 2015 season.
Now Forte will have a chance to carry the load for a Jets team that just watched Chris Ivory parlay a huge 2015 season into a lucrative deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Armed with motivation and some fresh surroundings after being let go by the Bears, the veteran running back should have no problem producing up to his high standards when the 2016 season gets rolling.
Statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.