When Eric Goodman and Les Shapiro of Mile High Sports AM 1340 caught up with the Chicago Bears running back during Super Bowl week, Matt Forte told them he hadn’t heard from the Bears about his impending free agency. Just over a week later, Forte has heard from the Bears and is reportedly free to pursue other opportunities. The Denver Broncos, a team often mentioned as a possible landing spot as the 2015 NFL trade deadline approached, remain an intriguing future home for the two-time Pro Bowler. Forte himself thinks he would be a fit in the Denver offense, as he told Goodman and Shapiro.

“[Gary] Kubiak, even when he was in Houston, had a great running scheme – loves that outside zone and stretch plays – loves to run the ball. I’m down for it. You can’t be there if you don’t run the ball, and I can catch the ball as well,” Forte said on Feb. 4.

Under Gary Kubiak, the Broncos have returned to the balanced, zone-blocking offense that led to a handful of 1,000-yard rushers and the team’s first two Super Bowl titles during the late ’90s and early 2000s. The 2015 squad that picked up Denver’s third Lombardi Trophy showed flashes of that offense, but struggled to maintain consistency in the run game, not just throughout the season, but sometimes within games themselves.

Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson had average years, rushing for 863 and 720 yards respectively. Denver rattled off 100-yard games in six of the final seven games of the regular season, but maxed-out in the playoffs with a Divisional round effort of 109 against Pittsburgh. Anderson accounted for 234 of Denver’s 298 rushing yards in the playoffs. Hillman accounted for zero yards on five carries in the Super Bowl.

Both will be free agents when the 2016 NFL season begins in March, Anderson of the restricted variety. In all likelihood, Hillman will be gone. Anderson remains more of a question.

Anderson believed he could become the bell cow back in Kubiak’s system, the one made famous by Terrell Davis, Mike Anderson and Clinton Portis (among others) after a Pro Bowl year in 2014 under former head coach John Fox. But injuries – both to Anderson and to the guys blocking for him – and an admittedly lax attitude prevented Anderson from ever fully taking the job from Hillman in 2015. Although he enjoyed big moments, like the walk-off 48-yard run against the Patriots in Week 12 and the Broncos’ only offensive touchdown in Super Bowl 50, Anderson’s status in Denver remains in question.

Anderson earned $589,167 last season, but with a Pro Bowl and a Super Bowl under his belt, could see some sizable offers the Broncos would have to match to keep him around. Forte, on the other hand, netted $9.2 million last season, $30.4 over the last four.

Forte rushed for over 1,000 yards in all but the last year of his recent contract (although he still outgained both Anderson and Hillman). However, Forte is now on the wrong side of 30 – typically considered a tipping-point age for NFL running backs. It seems that the back, who now has more than 2,000 career carries, is looking at his prospects for a championship as much as a payday.

When asked about the prospect of playing with a Denver defense considered to be the best in the NFL, Forte told Goodman and Shapiro:

“You always, especially as a player on offense, like to play with a great defense. You know the Bears had that great defense for so long, especially when I first got there with [Brian] Urlacher, [Lance] Briggs and all the names that go down the list – Charles Tillman, who’s with the Panthers right now. That definitely, obviously, would be a consideration for me.”

Listen to the discussion with Forte, plus Goodman and Shapiro’s analysis, in the podcast below…

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