Tag:Ted Phillips
Posted on: February 7, 2012 4:40 pm
Edited on: February 7, 2012 4:42 pm
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Forte OK with franchise tag if it leads somewhere

M. Forte said he'd be OK with a franchise tag if it leads to a long-term deal. (Getty Images)
By Josh Katzowitz

The Bears, despite their somewhat contentious relationship with Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte during the past season, have made clear they don’t plan on letting him test free agency. That’s what team president/CEO Ted Phillips said recently, claiming new general manager Phil Emery would work with Forte on a possible agreement to a long-term deal or would franchise-tag him to keep him in Chicago.

Forte has been on record saying that he didn’t want to be tagged, noting in November that “If they think by just slapping the franchise tag on me that’s going to silence anything, they’re sadly mistaken.”

Forte apparently has changed his mind.

That’s the impression he gave ESPN 1000 in Chicago during a recent interview when he said he’d be fine with a franchise tag if it led him to that elusive long-term deal.

Forte's future
"It depends on the motive of (the franchise tag)," Forte said Thursday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show.” "If they are doing the franchise tag just to get more time in order to negotiate a long-term deal, then I would be OK with it. But if it's just to hold me another year and just, 'Let's throw some money at him right now to keep him quiet,' that's not going to solve anything."

OK, so he’s beginning to waver on the tag issue. But Forte -- who sprained his MCL late in the season after complaining earlier in the year that the Bears were grinding him to a pulp without paying him what he’s worth -- isn’t going to forget the idea of signing an extended contract.

"I would expect (a new GM) to affect (the talks) positively," Forte said. "Hopefully, if we don't reach a deal by the time the franchise tag has to be placed, if they do franchise me, it's in order to get a deal done."

And if not, I’m sure we won’t hear the end of Forte’s disillusionment.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 7:03 pm
 

Bears don't plan to let Matt Forte get away

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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