Effect of Forte's injury on his contract

The last thing a running back wants to be: injured in a contract year. Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag every Monday and Wednesday. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.

Q: Do you think there is any way the San Diego Chargers turn around their season and make a run in the AFC West, or is their season over?

-- Kevin (Wisc.)

A: It's most likely over, Kevin. At 4-7, it's hard to imagine San Diego catching Denver or Oakland, each of whom are 7-5. But remember this: In each of the past seven seasons, a team with a losing record after 11 games has made playoffs -- St Louis ('04); Washington ('05); Philadelphia ('06); Washington ('07); San Diego ('08); the Jets ('09); and Seattle ('10). And six of those seven teams won at least one playoff game after posting a losing record after 11 games. So nothing's impossible, Kevin. But it's hard for anyone to like San Diego's chances right now. The team is just too banged up and too beaten down at this point.

Q: How much do you think Matt Forte's injury will affect how the Chicago Bears negotiate a deal after the season with him? What do you think the chances are that he re-signs with them?

-- Helio (N.J.)

A: It's a great question, Helio. It won't affect how the Bears deal with Forte, but it could impact Forte's thinking. Look, the Bears were planning to use their franchise tag on Forte if they couldn't sign him to a long-term deal. But Forte's willingness to do a long-term deal now might grow. This is just the scenario any running back or player in the last year of his contract fears -- an injury, especially a knee injury, before he can hit the free-agent market. But the truth is, the Bears never were going to let Forte hit the market anyway. Now this knee injury could wind up spooking Forte just a bit and make a long-term deal that much easier. But Forte also won't undersell himself and he shouldn't. He's one of the best players in football.

Q: With Forte's injury, do you think the Bears can still make the playoffs? Any chance they sign Donovan McNabb now?

-- Tommy (N.Y.)

A: Their road just got a whole lot tougher, Tommy. If Forte can't play again this regular season, then the Bears are going to have to rely on Marion Barber and Caleb Hanie to lead them to the playoffs. Not that it can't be done, but it's going to be challenging. McNabb would be a nice player to add as insurance, but it's hard to imagine that he'd be more effective and knowledgeable about a Mike Martz offense than Hanie. The learning curve would be steep. Saying that, McNabb's presence couldn't hurt. This team needs a spark and it's going to be up to its defense and special teams to get it to the playoffs, until Forte and maybe Jay Cutler can return. The unfortunate part is, with Forte and Cutler, the Bears would have been a threat to win the Super Bowl. But they're certainly not without them.

Q: Adam, I think we saw the Houston Texans' blueprint for the rest of the season with T.J. Yates at quarterback on Sunday. How impressed were you with their performance and how far do you think they can go in the playoffs?

-- Hector (Ore.)

A: We knew that would be their blueprint, Hector, running the football and playing good defense. And that's just what Houston did. What Houston has to avoid is the pick-six that Yates threw -- that a penalty nullified. If that play stood, it might have been a different game. But if Yates can keep from making those kinds of big mistakes, the Texans can run themselves well into the postseason. It's hard to imagine an extended playoff run with a rookie quarterback, but that's one of the best parts about sports -- the surprises.