I wish it were as easy as da Bears placing the franchise tag on Matt Forte and calling it a day; however, the reality is that this is just the beginning of a process that could turn uglier than Julia Roberts' face when she cries.
Yeah, I've seen Steel Magnolias. So what . . . want to fight about it?
At any rate, putting the franchise tag on Forte really only buys both sides more time to agree to a long-term deal—which is the most likely scenario. BUT, should da Bears and camp-Forte be too far apart, Forte can hold out for more money.
It's a perplexing situation, really.
Forte can hold out for the guaranteed money and the years he believes he's worth, but he may never see it. I hope he doesn't get that pay day either. Just because other teams are dumb enough to overpay running-backs like DeAngelo Williams to be hurt and bad, or Marshawn Lynch to buy a new grill-piece and a dump-truck full of Skittles, doesn't mean that new Bears’ GM Phil Emery should do the same.
I don't want Forte to get that pay-day because you don't pay players for past performance. You pay them for the future. Yes, Forte has been an above average RB during his four-year career, with over 4,200 yards on the ground and close to 2,000 receiving, but he doesn't deserve $20M+—if that's what he's thinking.
People call Forte the "Poor man's Marshall Faulk" because he’s NOT Marshall Faulk. Plus, he has already played passed the average shelf-life of an NFL running-back, and he may now may have knee problems.
I was twirling the "Pay Forte" baton last season. And Jerry Angelo actually tried to! Almost $15M in guaranteed loot is nothing to sneeze at. Yet, camp-Forte pushed the offer back across the table and demanded more. They're still demanding more.
If Forte holds out, it's possible he may get his number. It's also possible that he'll be giving back a large chunk of the money he has worked so hard for. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs can fine players $30K per missed day during a hold out. He may also hurt his reputation amongst other clubs. It's the former that leads me to believe that Forte won't hold out should he not reach a deal with Chicago.
If da Bears DO want to place the franchise tag on Forte again in 2013, he'll require at least a 10% increase of the $7.7M he would earn in 2012. Forte would be looking at a minimum of $16M guaranteed over the next two years. I'd be fine with that knowing da Bears won't have to risk, say, another $15M in dead money should he suffer any more serious injuries.
He should be fine with $16M for two years, too.
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