CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 16:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Could Matt Forte end up with the Green Bay Packers in free agency?

Matt Forte and the Chicago Bears have officially ended any chance that the veteran star running back would be returning to Chicago. He made it clear that the Bears are not going to re-sign him and that he will enter free agency with many different teams already beginning to plan how to bring him on board.

One team that could be a darkhorse contender to sign Forte is a division rival of the Bears. Green Bay is a team that has been being mentioned as a potential suitor for Forte when free agency opens up.

Green Bay snagged Julius Peppers away from the Bears a couple years back and that move panned out very well. Forte would be a nice addition to take over the starting running back from Eddie Lacy, who struggled mightily with weight issues last season. Ted Thompson isn’t known for making flashy free agency moves, but adding Forte could be the perfect chance for him to take the offense to the next level.

Aaron Rodgers obviously can’t power the offense by himself to a Super Bowl. He can get them close, but they need another piece to help take more pressure off of the superstar quarterback.

Last season with the Bears, Forte dealt with some injury issues that held him back a bit. He finished the year with 218 carries for 898 yards and four touchdowns. Those numbers weren’t shabby at all for the adversity that he faced and also the carries that he gave up towards the end of the season to rookie Jeremy Langford.

Mike McCarthy was rumored to be fed up with Thompson’s unwilling attitude to sign free agents. This move would be a way for Thompson to prove that he is not unwilling to add talent when the right player is available.

At 30 years of age, Forte only has a few years left to play at a superstar level. Many think that he is already over the hill and heading towards the end of his career quickly. That is exactly what the same critics said about Peppers when the Packers decided to give him a contract.

How did the Peppers signing work out when everyone was saying the Packers made a mistake? He has been a defensive captain for them each of the last two seasons and has been a deadly pass rusher and playmaker in addition to being the leader that the Packers’ defense desperately needed when they signed him.

Is it crazy to think that the Packers could give Forte a look when free agency opens up? Not at all.

Lacy’s struggles could signal the end of their trust that he is the answer in the backfield for them. James Starks is set to hit the free agency market as well, which means that the Packers do have a need in the backfield. Forte could pair with Lacy in a dual-back system, which would give Green Bay a thunder and lightning type of duo.

Rodgers would also have another weapon to throw to if the Packers signed Forte. He is also a great receiver out of the backfield, which is one thing that Rodgers loves to have. Starks has done very well with the Packers in that role and even Lacy has had some success in the passing game.

Expect to hear plenty of rumors surrounding Forte when free agency opens up and don’t be shocked to see the Packers at least show some interest in him.

Evan Massey

About Evan Massey

Evan Massey is a sportswriter that has been in the industry for the past six years. He has seen his work featured on Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports, ESPN and Bleacher Report. Known for his work ethic and ability to cover any league and team, Evan is always willing to talk sports with fans and debate any topic. Follow him on Twitter at @Massey_Evan, or email him: