Chicago Bears runningback Matt Forte remains unsigned. He was slapped with the franchise tag, which would pay him roughly $7.5 Million next season. Any NFL player with half a brain would scoff at the Tag. Why would you settle for a one year deal when you feel you are worth more than that and seek the security of a long-term pact? This line of thinking could be the key:
What is the Bears’ stance? The most Emery has said is the team continues to work on a deal. Former Packers contract negotiator Andrew Brandt probably summed up the team’s stance perfectly.
“The hardest position to sink long-term money into is running back because it has the shortest shelf life,” Brandt told the Philadelphia Daily News. “There’s a graveyard of bad contracts that were given to running backs over a certain age going back to Eddie George, Corey Dillon, Jamal Anderson and Shaun Alexander.”
Recent pay days Forte will examine, along with the McCoy deal, are contracts given to Arian Foster ($20.75 million guaranteed), DeAngelo Williams ($21 million guaranteed) and Marshawn Lynch ($17 million guaranteed). Unless he’s gunning for a pay day like Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson received, those seem to be backs that create a range for Forte and the Bears.
While attending an event at the Humidor of Westmont near Chicago, Forte wasn’t in the mood to discuss his contract status. However, he did share his thoughts on his team as they head into the 2012 season. From the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs:
“I know [Offensive Coordinator Mike] Tice loves running the ball and I am a running back,” he said. “Just looking at when he came from Jacksonville and he had Maurice and Fred Taylor there, they ran the ball tremendously every year.”
“Last year during the lockout we kind of trained but we didn’t know what schedule we were on,” he said. “It’s kind of like that. I found a trainer who basically does the same stuff up here (as the one I had in Florida). It has been very convenient for me.”
I was hoping the Bears would make an honest effort to get Forte traded before this whole contract situation blew out of proportion. The Bears signed Michael Bush this offseason, a very capable back. They really can not justify sinking another $20Million+ into the position. Now they could be possibly gearing up for a Forte hold out during training camp. I highly doubt Forte sits out any games or meaningful time. But the Bears could have done themselves a favor and rid themselves of that potential headache.
Further reading: Other Backs Seem to be Setting Price for Forte