Matt Forte has been a great asset to the Bears since being drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. In fact, it's safe to say that he is Jerry Angelo's best offensive draft pick from his time with the team.
In his six seasons with the team, Forte has run for 6,666 yards, 4.3 yards per carry and 35 touchdowns. He also has 341 receptions for 2,919 yards and 12 touchdowns. His career scrimmage yards are 9,585. Fairly impressive totals, even in Bears history.
Forte is beginning to carve out places in the Bears record book. He currently ranks second in team history in rushing yards, fifth in touchdowns, seventh in yards per attempt (among those with at least 400 carries) and second in attempts. His 73.3 yards per game is third behind Thomas Jones and Walter Payton and just edges out Gale Sayers (72.9).
Chicago Bears history is filled with great running backs and in the modern NFL where yards and offense come so easily it's hard to compare across eras.
However, no one is going to say Forte is the best back ever, but where does he rank in team history? The first two are slam dunks; Walter Payton and Gale Sayers. But is Forte third?
Forte has had at least 1,400 yards from scrimmage in each of his six seasons. In team history Neal Anderson had three and Payton had an astounding 10 while Thomas Jones, James Allen and Gale Sayers each had one. Forte, Anderson and Payton are the only backs who have had seasons with 1,000 yards rushing and at least 50 receptions.
Forte has accomplished that three times (2008, 2010 and 2013), Payton twice (1978 and 1983) and Anderson once (1989).
Forte's receptions are good for third in team history behind only Payton (492) and Johnny Morris (356). His receiving yards are only good for 14th but among running backs he's second only to Payton. Keeping his career average of 32.1 receiving yards per game (which is lower than he had in year one with Marc Trestman) if he played 16 games in 2014 he would be 10th on the all-time receiving list. However, that would likely be 11th because those same calculations applied to Brandon Marshall have him jumping from 19th to sixth using his Bears averages.
Either way though, Forte has been an impressive weapon for the Bears and provided he continues to stay relatively healthy his numbers will only grow under Trestman. Forte is coming off a career year and with another Pro-Bowl or two it's going to be harder and harder for fans to argue that he wasn't worth his extension or that he is replaceable.
The Bears have tried nearly every year that Forte has been here to bring in a number two back who could complement Forte and take pressure off him, but they've always reverted back to keeping Forte on the field because he was the most effective player. Kevin Jones, Chester Taylor, Marion Barber and Michael Bush all got chances to poach carries but none of them have done it effectively.
To me Forte is a better Neal Anderson but what do you think? Where would you place Forte in team history? Forte was snubbed recently by Pro-Football Focus for the All-NFC North team for Eddie Lacy; is he still underrated league-wide?