Jeremy Langford’s Breakout Performance Could Seal Matt Forte’s Fate

facebooktwitterreddit

More from Bear Goggles On

There were a lot of positive statements being thrown around about Jeremy Langford before the Chicago Bears squared off on Monday Night Football against the San Diego Chargers. We heard how fans would love how Langford runs, we heard how the Bears’ offense wouldn’t miss a step without Matt Forte, we heard plenty of positives, but there was plenty of doubt because we just hadn’t seen much of Langford on the field.

Forte was having another tremendous season before a knee injury sidelined the Bears’ running back. That opened the door for Langford, and we all waited with bated breath to see how the rookie might perform.

There’s no question Langford exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Langford performed like a veteran on the field. He looked solid running the ball, he wasn’t afraid of contact but showed that he could still get to the outside and turn the corner. He also flashed some pass catching abilities, making a beautiful diving catch down the sidelines for a 31-yard gain.

It’s only one game, but Langford showed the abilities that Ryan Pace and the coaching staff always believed he had. It’s why they spent a fourth round pick on him and made him the Bears’ back of the future. With that performance, the future may be the present very soon.

Forte is a free agent at the end of the season and he turns 30 next month. He has made it very clear that he wants to stay in Chicago and is seeking a contract extension. The Bears haven’t shown much reciprocation and it’s been very murky if Forte will remain on the roster beyond this season.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

When Forte is healthy, he will certainly return as the Bears’ starting running back, but Langford will definitely eat into his touches if he continues to play at this level. When this season ends, it will be very interesting to see how the Bears handle Forte’s situation.

Most running backs start fading shortly after their 30th birthday, I’m sure Ryan Pace is well aware of that trend and will proceed with extreme caution when determining Forte’s future, especially considering he appears to have a viable younger and much cheaper option in Langford.

The Bears are in the middle of a rebuild, Pace doesn’t have his eye on the 2016 season, his eye is on the 2017 season and beyond. Does it make sense to pay a 30-year old running back major dollars even one as productive and popular as Forte?

It’s a question I’m sure Pace has spent many hours pondering and now that Langford has officially shown he has what it takes to be a legitimate NFL running back, it might make Pace’s decision a lot easier, and that decision may not be one that a lot of Bears’ fans want to hear.

Next: NFL Week 10: Chicago Bears at St. Louis Rams- What to Watch