This week’s point/counterpoint will center on free agency. There are a lot of people in PackerNation who would love to see the Packers add Matt Forte to the backfield that already includes Eddie Lacy. Lacy, who is coming into a contract year, disappointed last season. But he seems to already be getting in shape and I personally look for him to have his best season ever if he can stay healthy. Here, we will talk about the points for and against and remember, the final post will include a PackerNation poll so you can make your opinion known by casting your vote.
Why Matt Forte is NOT on the Packers’ Radar
There is no question that Matt Forte has cemented himself as a Bears’ legend. Forte has been the only Bears stalwart on an offense that brought in Jay Cutler only to see him fritter away his potential to opposing defensive backs. Then they got Brandon Marshall, who took his big contract and then left for the Jets. But through it all, Matt Forte was not just solid, but the best running back the Bears had since “Sweetness” himself. But while the Packers will do their due diligence on Forte, he really won’t be on their radar for three reasons.
Reason #1: The need isn’t there
The Packers’ running backs corps under-performed at just about the same level as…well…every other aspect of the Packers’ offense. Not only did they run the ball poorly (or inconsistently may be more accurate), but they also were prone to fumbling at the worst times. James Starks fumbled 5 times (lost 3) and Eddie Lacy fumbled 4 times (lost 2)…even John Crockett, in his nice week 13 showing against the Lions, bobbled a snap though he caught it going to the ground.
So the Packers performed poorly, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to need. Starks has won a Super Bowl with the Packers and was instrumental in their success in the 2010 run. Eddie Lacy is a beast…he got sidetracked but I will say it again…if he can stay healthy, best season…in every category. The Packers absolutely have to find ILB help, they don’t need help at running back.
Reason #2: Ted Thompson doesn’t go old when it comes to running backs
There are certain positions where age doesn’t catch up…NFL running back is not one of them. Ted Thompson generally dips into free agency when he sees a player released that he can get at a bargain (Julius Peppers) or when a player is coming off injury that he can get at a bargain (Charles Woodson). The key is bargain. But second to that is the priority that TT has to imagine the guy is going to play every snap, or at least most every snap. The defensive line is an exception to this, but that is because Dom rotates those guys anyway to keep them fresh.
The running back position is brutal. Matt Forte has done a great job staying on the field and since his high ankle sprain in 2012, has been a fixture, but TT isn’t going to see it that way. Thompson will have Forte as a medium risk, which is acceptable, but in the back of his mind he will only be thinking that the Karma clock is ticking on this guy…trigger…not pulled.
Reason #3: Ted Thompson is…well…Ted Thompson
I know this sounds like a cop out but it is not. One very good reason to think that Ted won’t get Matt
Forte is because Ted doesn’t get anybody. Well, it is not fair to say that he doesn’t get anybody because TT’s pickup of Ryan Pickett helped enable Dom Capers’ 3-4 scheme to be successful. His acquisition of Charles Woodson was stellar and instrumental in the development of our current defensive backfield (to some extent) and some players who were successful elsewhere. And finally, the signing of Julius Peppers, in my opinion puts the Packers defense one inside linebacker away from the top five…period.
But with that said, Thompson doesn’t overpay for risky players like the Cowboys (good thing) but he doesn’t target and go get the job done like it seems the New England Patriots (don’t be surprised if Forte ends up in New England) do. That is a bad thing, a good GM targets his guy and then makes it happen for the sake of the team. Yes, balancing the books is a tight rope but it has to be done. How many Super Bowls would Brett Favre have gone to if Ron Wolf hadn’t signed Reggie White?
Ted Thompson is a draft and develop guy…and when people try to force his hand, he tends to kick against the goads. So I don’t think the stories that Mike McCarthy is “fed up” with TT’s despondency in free agency will have any effect whatsoever. Packers go into 2016 with Lacy, Starks (if signed), Crockett and a couple UDFA’s.
But what do you think? I will be back later (because I get to be bipolar on this one) to talk about why the Packers WILL have Forte on the radar and then follow up with the poll so you can VOTE.