Throughout the league, people have wondered why the Bears can’t agree on a multiyear contract extension for one of the NFL’s most productive running backs. A major sticking point stems from the Bears’ worry over how long Forte’s knees will hold up, a source told the Tribune. The wear and tear on Forte’s knees drew the attention of several teams, including the Bears, before the 2008 NFL draft when he came out of Tulane.
And there there you have it. The Chicago Bears are reluctant to lock up running back Matt Forte to a long-term deal due to worries over him breaking down soon. Forte was a workhorse in college and has been the Bears’ primary weapon of choice since he was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft. It is fair to question whether or not his workload (and limited productivity) has cost him in this contract battle the Bears. The Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh was the first to report the team’s worries.
The Bears won’t acknowledge it publicly or privately but want to protect themselves from arthritis setting in and becoming a chronic problem for the fifth-year running back with 1,237 career NFL touches who turns 27 in December. In the NFL, data show running backs start declining after age 28.
Forte has history with both knees. He tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in November 2006 at Tulane and that injury, combined with 833 carries in college primarily on artificial surfaces, caused a handful of teams to note worries over the length of his NFL career. He suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in the same knee in 2009, his second year, and had postseason arthroscopic surgery.
I said this earlier – when this stalemate is over, I fully expect Forte to be locked in by the Bears on a multi-year deal. It will most likely not be at the price point Forte is requesting, however. It will more than likely be a deal more favorable to the team.
*UPDATE* – Mr. Forte responded with the following tweet:
His agent, Adisa Bakari, released this statement to ESPN’s Josina Anderson: