GREEN BAY, Wis. -- He’s effective between the tackles and on the outside stretch plays. His receiving skills made him ideal for the screen game, and he doesn’t need to be an every-down back anymore.
It would be a bit of a departure for general manager Ted Thompson to pursue a potentially high-priced veteran on the open market, but not unprecedented. Julius Peppers' experience going from Chicago to Green Bay has been positive and if the Packers want someone to help recruit Forte, Peppers would be the ideal facilitator -- if he hasn’t started doing that already.
The Bears have already said they won’t offer Forte another contract, making him a free agent next month after eight seasons in Chicago.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy put running back Eddie Lacy on notice when he ripped him for being overweight and out of shape last season, and there’s no guarantee they will re-sign backup running back James Starks.
Former NFL safety Matt Bowen’s ESPN Insider piece on Forte detailed, in part, which teams would be a good fit. He listed the Packers, Patriots, Seahawks, Redskins and Raiders as the best possible landing spots for the 30-year-old back.
A closer read of what Bowen thinks are Forte’s best attributes would seemingly fit Green Bay's offense.
Bowen noted that Forte can be productive in a power-run scheme out of a zone system, which is what the Packers run, best fits Forte’s running style. Also, he can run effectively out of nickel personnel (three-receiver sets), which is what the Packers use as their primary package.
He also wrote that the screen game has long been one of Forte’s strengths, and that the Packers ran screen plays well last season with Starks and Lacy.
What’s more, Bowen believes Forte should no longer be viewed as an every-down back. Instead, he should touch the ball 12-15 times a game, which would fit with how McCarthy wants to use his backs.
Thompson might choose to stay the course and replenish his team through the draft, as he is wont to do. But if McCarthy truly has become frustrated with his general manager’s refusal to supplement his roster with veteran signings, as has been suggested in at least one report since the season ended, then Forte would represent a good chance for Thompson to satisfy his coach.
There’s no doubt Aaron Rodgers could use another weapon to boost an offense that ranked just 23rd overall in the NFL last season. Simply relying on the return of receiver Jordy Nelson from his knee injury to do that would be a mistake.