Da Bears franchising Matt Forte is not so simple

Da Bears franchising Matt Forte is not so simple

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.

Tune in to Chicago Sports Fix with Josh Catlow and me, Rob Zielinski, this and every Monday from 6 to 8pm only on Chicagoland Sports Radio. Share your thoughts with us by calling 312.564.7375 during show hours or email us at chicagosportsfix@gmail.com.

Dan Durkin, NFL/Bears blogger for 670thescore.com will be joining us this week on the eve of free agency. You can find him on twitter @djdurkin.

The Daily Herald's Barry Rozner, who also hosts WSCR 670-AMThe Score's venerable baseball program Hit & Run, will be joining us any Monday now to TALK MORE HOCKEY!


Filed under: Players

Tags: Matt Forte


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  • I like Forte, but have always felt he is an "above average" RB, and not an "elite" back i.e. A. Peterson (Vikes), or even some of the Bears' great RBs of the past i.e. Payton, Sayers, etc. Forte runs well between the twenties, but can't push a pile or gain tough yards in the trenches. That's why the Bears had to bring in C. Taylor and M. Barber the past couple of years. I also thought both Bell and Barber ran well last year when they had the chance, except for Barber's melt down in Denver.

  • Thanks for the read Aero and well said. Forte has great vision and at times seems like he is about to pass that threshold into the elite, but he still is just not quite there and never will be IMO.

  • You can define elite however you want (but I’m pretty sure the dictionary does it for you), and depending on your definition, Matt Forte either fits into it or he doesn’t. That aside, the bottom line is he’s in the upper-tier of CURRENT NFL tail backs. If you don’t believe that, you’re too far removed from what he’s been able to do—and what he did last season—behind a rag-tag group of lineman. Therefore, he ought to be paid as such. I do, however, think he values himself a bit much. I just hope for his sake it’s a negotiating tactic and he can come down to reality. If not, he’ll have to live with the tag, and I’m fine with that.

  • He should get around $18mil guaranteed (5yrs). Forte is a very productable back with multiple talents, but he hasn't led the league in rushing nor has he scored double-digit rushing TD's in a season. The Foster deal kills Forte's chances at the $20mil gauranteed he's previously targeted - he's a notch below Foster in the production department (& he's older).


  • Lol I love that...pay Forte...something! Yea I think the most TDs he has scored in a season is 8. Even 5 years seems like it is too long, for my liking anyway. It sounds like it opens up that dead money window.

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