OTA/Training Camp Hold-Outs Are An Unnecessary Distraction For Teams With Real Goals To Accomplish – This past Monday, New England Patriots Pro-Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker went on WEEI Radio in the New England area and stated that, “There’s $9.5 million reasons why I won’t miss any regular season games”, effectively neutering any affect a potential hold out may have on his contract status. This morning, Welker signed his franchise tag tender, bringing a very quick end to their contract stalemate. With the Patriots poised to remain a dominant force in the AFC, Welker has done his team a huge favor by not holding out.What does this have to do with Matt Forte? On Monday, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was quoted as saying,
“Yeah, I talk to him. Last time I saw him, he said he was lonely. I get it. Everyone was gone last year, with the lockout, and you do get that itch to get back in the office and see guys and work out. But Matt’s got to do what he has to do for him. Maybe they get a deal, maybe they don’t. But, at the end of the day, we’ll have him the first game. You know, I’d like to see him signed and come on in. But I know what it is. But I rest easy at night, knowing that Matt is a true professional and he’s going to come in and he’s not going to miss a beat.“
While Forte hasn’t missed any mandatory workouts or training camp sessions, the time he spends away from the team sulking about his contract situation could have a negative impact on the team’s camaraderie. The Bears currently have a more talented roster than their 2006 Super Bowl team, and the 2010 team that made it to the NFC Title Game. They can ill-afford the distraction Forte’s hold out could cause.