Dear Pay Forte Camp: SHUT UP

Dear Pay Forte Camp: SHUT UP
One man even sends up a prayer for the poor running back who's set to make a meager $7.7M this season.

I have to say it . . .

All the "Pay Forte" and "Pay Da Man" expressions on twitter are driving me NUTS! If I have to read one more thing on how the Bears should overpay Matt Forte (a RESTRICTED free agent, mind you), I might rip out all of my hair and call it a career writing sports. Okay . . . not really.

But seriously, people . . . STOP IT. Just take a second to understand the business side of this contract situation. The Chicago Bears have to do what’s best for the Chicago Bears, not offer Matt Forte an exorbitant contract with gobs of guaranteed cash for no other reason than to massage the running back’s ego and make him feel wanted.

For starters, running backs are not as valuable as they once were. It's a passing League, like it or not, and running backs—as far as production goes—are a dime a dozen. Granted, Forte is not just an average Joe. He is probably one of the best backs in the game. Admitted.

But he, as well as the "Pay Forte" crowd, needs to understand that you don't hand out elite-level contracts to A) a player in a position with such a short shelve life (approx. 3 years for running backs), and B) a restricted free agent who you can hang onto through other means.

I’m not saying that Forte is about to fall apart, but statistics suggest that he should start slowing down in the next few years. Maybe this year for all we know. He did lose his first significant chuck of season due to injury last year . . .

But let’s take a look at another contract situation coming up in the next two years: Jay Cutler, for example, is a free agent after 2013, and he should be due another extension at some point this season or in the next off-season. He is by far the most important player on the team and the real face of the franchise. (If you don’t agree with that, just see the 2011 season before Cutler’s injury . . . and then after it. I rest my case.)

If the Bears go out and throw huge money at Forte now, it’s going to affect future cap space and the team’s ability to get things done with the most important pieces of the puzzle. Who would you rather risk losing: Forte or Cutler? That's not even a legit question at this point. (Unless of course you’re one of the shmucks who liked Hanie over Jay . . . you idiots will never live that down so long as I’m around.)

And Jay’s not the only one up in 2014. Heck, Brian Urlacher is up after this season. This following list should give you an idea why it’s important for Phil Emery to make careful decisions and not frivolously dole out stacks of guaranteed money (what Forte wants)—which, by the way, is spread out over the life of a contract and would grossly affect future salary caps. Roberto Garza, Robbie Gould, Devin Hester, and Charles Tillman are all out of contract after the 2013 season, same as Cutler.

Probably don’t want to handcuff yourself now.

Forte has zero leverage in negotiating talks. His biggest mistake was not holding out during training camp last year. Had he held out, he might have been able to get a long-term contract done. But instead, he played the nice guy role and attended camp. But he’s not finishing last. Instead, he’s being paid among the top players at his position under the franchise tag. Disrespect? I think not.

He’s coming off a knee injury that ended his 2011 season, and he now has a formidable backup who could start on a lot of teams. He wants more money than the running back market would bear even if he was an UNRESTRICTED free agent (if you don’t believe that, Michael Bush is a great case in point: starting caliber player, signed as a backup).

So go ahead, Matt, hold out now. Go ahead and get fined $30K per day once the season starts. We have Michael Bush to hold down the forte (sorry, I mean fort!), and we’ll be padding the coffers with you off the books in the meantime.

Keep pouting and complaining on twitter, too! That’s been working out really well (read sarcasm)! If you REALLY want to miss out on $7.7 million this year, go ahead. You had your chance to make a statement in contract talks, but you missed it. Personally . . . I like that Matt showed up at camp last year, but from the business side of it, that was a huge mistake.

Now it’s time to shut up and play football.

Oh, and all of you people kicking and screaming about paying Forte need to shut down your twitter accounts forever. No more “Pay Forte” and no more calling the McCaskey family cheap when the numbers and the recent history show sound financial decisions, coupled with rewarding production at the right time. Disagree? I’m on twitter.

Filed under: Players

Tags: Matt Forte


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  • The main issue is that we don't know either what Forte is demanding or Emery is offering.

    We can assume that Angelo was a cheapo, but given that the biggest malcontent up to now--Briggs--has signed an extension and says he is happy indicates that Emery is ready to deal.

    Maybe it just is an issue to hold out so as to avoid OTAs and the first couple of weeks of training camp (up to the time when only the tender is on the table), and then come to a deal.

    But I would leave to Emery and Forte the calculus of whether one side or the other is overreaching.

  • In reply to jack:

    The problem with that argument is we know what Angelo offered last season, before Forte's value went up, and that figure was very fair considering Forte was under contract. That was also before he played very well in 2011—Emery’s not offering him less than what Angelo did. It's pretty clear who's reaching.

  • In reply to Adam Oestmann:

    If that's the case, why don't you refresh our recollections? At least I don't remember any public disclosure of a written offer. "Reports from Halas Hall" don't suffice.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'm not trying to argue about it. But teams never release contract information. So . . . if we can't use multiple sources, all saying the same thing, which is that the Bears offered Forte $14M in guaranteed money in 2011, we should throw out all leaked contract figures. Of course, the answer to who is overreaching is going to be subjective no matter what I guess. I don't emphatically disagree with your thought, I think it's a smart one. I just believe the evidence suggests the Bears are being fair, and Forte wants more. But, again, it's all subjective. So I feel ya, brother! :)

  • I want to sign Forte but I can't help but get the feeling he is looking at a benchmark type deal and he won't get it...and I don't think he deserves it....this past year was his only statistically dominant year...then he got hurt. 2010 was good but not great. His first two years were rather lackluster from a rushing perspective....remember something like 3.5 yards/rush?

    I do believe he is a perfect back for our system, and the weather etc...but no way I mortgage the franchise on a running back...gone are the days of a cloud of dust and 3 yards! The contract he was offered was generous and, like it or not, when you stay with one team you tend to give up $ for stability and familiarity. It is that way in the professional, private business sector too. If Forte truly wants greenbacks above all else, he will leave Chicago. Again, this makes the possibility of a trade more likely though I still believe the Bears are better with him than without him.

  • Fire the agent!!

    He is NOT doing his client any justice in this instance


  • I heard New England was offering a 2nd & 4th round pick. I wish we would jump on it just so I'll never have to hear pay you know who ever again in my life. Masterpiece article I might add.

  • In reply to JaxFLBear#1:

    a 2nd & 4th rd pick for Matt???

    ...hopefully, whomever was on the other line of that phone call got vigorously laughed at!!!


  • GM Mouser looks at a Forte trade for a 2nd & 4th like this: Can I sign Forte or will I sign Forte? trade
    No...Can I win without Forte? No means I sit tight and keep Forte
    Yes....means I drop him like a hot potatoe and make the trade.

    With a second and fourth, I can turn one of the picks into another RB while I lean on Michael Bush....then I can draft my LT, DE, WR and have one other fairly high pick to use on a DB, DT, TE or Safety.

    If the rumor is true about the 2&4 on the trable, then I approach Forte to close the deal and trade if he doesn't budge. If the whole thing is a rumor, then he is a Bear in 2012

  • In reply to Mouser:

    GM Alpha says:

    NO DEAL!

  • Obvious those people don't understand the salary cap..

  • In reply to Dominique Blanton:

    Yeah the salary cap is the wild card here...none of us manage the money and it has everything to do with allocation of resources and who we pursue etc...

    The Bears have signed a few high profile free agents and they have a ton of money wrapped up in Forte, Urlacher and Briggs. I like what the Bears have done with cap $ for the most part but I get a little frustrated at times when they go into the season with $20million + . That won't happen the year! The contract status of Forte and Urlacher are going to be interesting to see some point, Urlachers production will fall off. A declining Urlacher is better than most of the other LB in the league, but not worth say 8 million.

    I think the Bears can win without Forte now that Bush is signed and the RB position is one that can and does have an immediate impact from you can draft a starter with some level of confidence. What most people probably don't realize is Forte has to be signed to a contract of some sort in order to trade him...if he doesn't sign his franchise offer then we cant pony him up during the draft anyways.

    I predict Forte is a Bear in 2012 and he is not a Bear in 2013 unfortunately....maybe the Bears will let him shop and he has the same humbling experience that Briggs did. RB and LB continue to decline in value in this league.

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