Blog Entry

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

Posted on: February 1, 2012 7:03 pm
ForteBy Josh Katzowitz

The Bears recently hired Phil Emery to take over for former general manager Jerry Angelo, but the decision on whether to bring back running back Matt Forte or to let him walk in free agency apparently has already been made.

That’s because team president/CEO Ted Phillips said Forte isn’t going anywhere.

"We'd like to (work out a long-term deal)," Phillips said on ESPN 1000, via ESPN Chicago. "But as Phil pointed out we obviously will at least consider placing the franchise tag on him. We don't have any intention of letting Matt hit the open market. We'll sit down with him privately, Phil will, and discuss what the plans are prior to the Feb. 20 franchise tag date."

That leaves about three weeks that the Bears can work out a long-term deal with Forte.

Forte, though, has made it quite clear that he believes he deserves an extended contract. The Bears might be hesitant because they have proof of what can happen if a star running back gets those huge contracts (cough, cough, Chris Johnson).

While Forte had a Pro Bowl season, rushing for 997 yards in 12 games, he obviously wasn’t pleased with his situation. Which he made quite clear in November.

"The running back position is the most physically demanding on the field," Forte said. "Everyone acknowledges that. So to continue to give me the touches I’ve had since my rookie year but not award me a long-term contract sends the message that you’re OK grinding me into a pulp."

Making matters worse, Forte sprained his MCL in December and said he wouldn’t return to the team unless he was 100 percent (the team, then, placed him on the IR list). But after he was cleared by team doctors, Forte played in last Sunday’s Pro Bowl, and it seemed as if his decision to do so was a big “Screw you" to the Bears (that’s how I took it, anyway).

And while Forte will make good money for his one year of service if he’s franchise-tagged, he most likely won’t be happy it.

"If they think by just slapping the franchise tag on me that’s going to silence anything, they’re sadly mistaken," he said in November. "That’s not going to cure everything. It’s not a solution, I would say."

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Since: Dec 22, 2011
Posted on: February 13, 2012 5:14 pm

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

Forte has learned from the master Lance Briggs very well. Don't worry Matt, you will get your money.

Since: May 28, 2007
Posted on: February 7, 2012 6:43 pm

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

the bears should not pay him a big extention.look at peterson blows his knee out,the other quit running hard.forte was a 2nd round pick,i would trade him for a 1st round pick if possible then draft his replacement in 2nd round or so(lamichael james?)i know this isn't a popular opinion,but money could be used to sign o-lineman and w.r.( wayne or maningham?)plus the extra pick or 2 could be used to replace one of our older l.b.we need to start stockpiling picks like the pats. do if we can,we need to hit on our top picks like we did with forte more often.

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:38 am

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

The Bears - Jerry Angelo - have painted themselves into a corner on this one, which is why Angelo is now gone. The Bears should have tacked on additional years to Forte's contract at the end of last season - before the lockout. Now Forte has all of the leverage after putting together a Pro Bowl season and the Bears are in a lose/lose scenario. They can either pay the man - and fork over even more money in a long-term deal than they would have paid before, or they can franchise him, which costs big $$$ for one year and then what? What are you hoping for if you franchise your RB?... that he has a crappy year and brings down his price tag? That's a losing bet right there. But, if he has a great year, which is great for the 2012 Bears, his price will go even higher - either way, the Bears lose. This is why Angelo is gone.

Since: Dec 22, 2011
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:29 am

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

Angelo handled this all wrong. Its a shame it got to this. I like what Forte has done for the Bears. His stats were higher because thats all the Bears had. Now if the Bears fix the offense and start balancing it more, does Matt Forte deserve a lot more money? The past is the past. Im a believer in you sign a contract, you play that out. I know it doesnt always work out that way, its just my belief. Throw out "what he deserves".  The Bears need to look at what his worth is in the future. If they can right the offense, I think his worth could be less than what they are going to give him. Doesnt mean Im right. Just my opinion. I think they are going to Franchise him. This is the same thing the Ravens are going to go through with Ray Rice. Only I haven't seen Rice complain about his contract situation. 

Since: Jun 25, 2010
Posted on: February 2, 2012 9:25 am

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

He's been one of the Bears' most consistent offensive player outside of Hester and Cutler.
Please do not refer to Devin Hester as an offensive player, unless you are meaning that his route running and pass-catching abilities are just plain offensive. Hester is an extraordinary talent on special teams - at least when he doesn't have an ankle injury - but as an offensive weapon, he has clearly demonstrated that he should be a third down option only. Matt Forte and Devin Hester are not comparable players.

Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:03 am

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: February 2, 2012 6:02 am

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

The Bears will look like fools if they let this man walk away,and walk away without no type of compensation. He's been one of the Bears' most consistent offensive player outside of Hester and Cutler. If the Bears know any better,they better get this man his money because he deserves it!

Since: Dec 5, 2007
Posted on: February 2, 2012 5:53 am

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

Chris Johnson's contract wasn't what made him ineffective the first part of the season, it was holding out and missing the camps, etc.  As the year rolled on, he got better.  Also, you (the Bears, or any NFL team) can't base its future contract thought process based off one player.  Thinking "Well look at Johnson!  That'll happen to any running back ever signed long term!" its simply asinine.  Matt Forte did NOT hold out, as Johnson did, proving to me his character well above Johnson's.  However, if he is hit with the franchise tag, I believe he SHOULD hold out.  He has done nothing but prove himself both on the field and his worth ethic.  If Chris Johnson scares them from making a long-term deal, then he should become Chris Johnson.  He's already being punished for a crime he didn't commit, he may as well do the deed.  

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: February 2, 2012 12:13 am

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

I think it's simple, but Bears management is making this difficult.  Either put a deal together that rewards Forte for being a top 2 or 3 running back in the NFL or tell him you can't pay him, let teams know he's available and let somebody else pay him.  Anybody that follows anything I say on these boards knows I rarely side with the player in things like this and certainly don't make a habit of complimenting Chicago Bears players.  As a Lions fan that's against the rules Foot in mouth  but Forte is the exception to that rule.  Had he played 16 instead of 12 games Forte would have had a chance at a total of 2 thousand rushing and receiving yards combined.  In 60 games or less then the equivalent 4 seasons worth of games in his career he has well over 6 thousand rushing/receiving yards.  I'm not going to do the research but not too many running backs are putting up numbers like that.  When the Lions play the Bears that's the guy I'm the most scared of.  It's not the Chicago D anymore and it's not Cutler.  Every time Forte touches the ball he scares me....

Since: Oct 29, 2010
Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:54 pm

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

Bears management has not been popular here in Chicago since Ditka left. Forte is one of the few true "star" players on  offense the Bears have had(Cutler maybe the other) in the last 25 years, and it would be a real public relations fiasco to turn this into a messy situation. Not only does Forte deserve to be treated with the respect he has earned, but so do all the Bear fans. If Halas Hall blows this they may lose future credibility with other players.

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