Forte gains leverage with McCoy signing

Forte gains leverage with McCoy signing
The game just changed for Matt Forte.

The Philadelphia Eagles signed RB LeSean McCoy to five-year, $45 million contract on Thursday.

And somewhere, Matt Forte is smiling.

McCoy (23) was set to make $600,000 this season, the final year of his rookie deal with the Eagles—a rookie deal he’s very clearly outperformed. Sound familiar anyone?

While the market for a running back of Forte’s caliber has been set for some time now, the circumstances surrounding comparative player deals were not consistent with Forte’s own.

Matt presumably wanted to be paid like the unrestricted free agents around the League. The only problem was that he was not an unrestricted free agent. Now he has a legitimate comp.

Try telling Forte’s agent, Adisa Bakari, to bug-off now.

In 2011, the Bears’ highest reported offered tendered to Forte was near $15 million in guarantees (duration and specific terms not disclosed). McCoy's guarantees are reported to be $20.765 million.

Of course, NFL contracts are never fully guaranteed and McCoy may never see all of his money, but all parties involved understand that.

McCoy’s deal reportedly includes an $8.5 million signing bonus and base salaries of $615,000 in 2012, $3.25 million in 2013, $8 million in 2014, $10.25 million in 2015, $7.15 million in 2016 and $7.85 million in 2017.

It’s a blueprint, folks.

Now, the Bears still have all the right in the world to use the tag. No doubt. But make no mistake about it . . . the game just changed, if only slightly.

And, just for the sake of gross comparison, here’s a side-by-side snap-shot of Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy’s 2011 stats:

2011 Stats Forte McCoy
Games 12 15
Carries 203 273
Rushing Yards 997 1,309
Rushing Average 4.9 4.8
Longest Run 46 60
Rushing Touchdowns 3 17
Rushing 1st Downs 40 84
%Rush for 1st Dn 19.7 30.8
Runs of 20+ Yards 12 14
Receptions 52 48
Receiving Yards 490 315
Receiving Average 9.4 6.6
Longest Reception 56 26
Receiving Touchdowns 1 3
Receiving 1st Downs 19 18
%Rec for 1st Dn 36.5 37.5
Receptions of 20+ Yards 5 2
Receptions of 40+ Yards 1 0
Total Touchdowns 4 20
2-Point Conversions 0 0
Total Points 24 120

Filed under: Players

Tags: LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte


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  • Well I would like to see Forte finish his career a Bear and at the same time, manage the cap so they continue to be able to pay for other stars too.
    Maybe this deal will give Emery an excuse to swallow his pride and approach Forte once again...If not, look for a high round RB in next year's draft.
    Some say it is a passing league...and I don't disagree with that statement...however there are many recipies for victory in the NFL and the RB position is still relevant in this league and if you have one like Forte, he can complement and add to the passing game in ways that keep opposing defensive coordinators up at night.

  • In reply to Mouser:

    Great points. I wouldn't fault the Bears if they held the tag and made him suck it up. I do, however, think it's in everyone's best interest to agree to a longer-term deal. But you're right, they can't overpay.

  • To stress the 'overpay' obstacle in this instance is unrealistic at best. Both the Lynch & McCoy deals give Forte & the Bears all the common-sense necessary to get this thing done once & for all.

    -The Bears leverage:

    McCoy is younger & has a nose for the endzone. His 17 rushing TDs led the league in 2011 (Forte has never reached double-digits), & combined with his blazing breakaway speed, & his ability to also catch the ball effectively out of the backfield, makes Shady the better player & RB.

    -Matt's leverage:

    Up until the KC game last year, durability has never been an issue for the former Tulane star. The fact that he was able to compete in the Pro-Bowl also puts to rest any questions about his actual recovery. In a division that boasts three of the top six teams in the NFC, Forte provide the Bears with something neither the Packers or the Lions have as a luxury at this point -- an elite runner.

    Yes I feel Forte is elite. IMO, he's behind only AP & Shady in the conference. The fact is, getting Forte signed & 'in the bag' so-to-speak, could be the difference between division titles & near playoff berths for years to come. Michael Bush is a capable runner, but he doesn't keep DC's up at night.

    -What the Bears should do:

    Sign him long term now! With Marshall & Jeffery added to the mix, Forte could put up astronomical numbers this year & really be a problem to sign next offseason!

    -What Matt should do:

    Hold out.

    Look, I'm not a fan of this move by all means, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do! Matt should force the Bears' hand in this instance & the Shady deal - again, he is the closest comparable back besides Rice at this point - should be enough of a barometer to finally put this thing to rest.


  • In reply to Alpha79:

    Why is it unrealistic? They can tag him and he'll still put up those numbers.

    What's concerning to me is if you don't get a deal done with him long-term, what happens next year? Because next year, if tagged, you're going to have to pay him closer to $9M. Are you really going to tag him again and pay a RB close to $17M for two seasons? They could sign him to a deal next year, but then why even tag him this season?

    The best-case-scenario for all involved is to get a deal done. But it's still important to say they can't overpay simply because we don't what Forte's asking for.

    I agree that McCoy’s a better back, but the touchdown stats irk me. Forte's rarely used in goal-line situations, rushing or passing.

  • I just hate the term "overpay"!

    What is the value of Forte to OUR team? If he's as vital as he has showed, it'll be virtually impossible to 'overpay' him. The Panthers gave a running back (DeAngelo Williams) that's part of one of the most dynamic 2-back tandems in the NFL over $21m guaranteed -- I don't see them complaining or making excuses that Williams is overpaid. They actually think he's valuable to what their needs are. So how can we possibly fathom using the 'overpay' monicker to the most consistant offensive player we've had in the past 5yrs as it relates to us???

    My point is, even if Forte is asking for closer to $25m guaranteed, can we really say that that number is 'too rich' for a proud franchise such as the Bears to reward one of it's most glaring assets???

    I don't think so.

    Forte played an entire season making $600k, & his entire career on a 2nd Rd payscale. He has exceeded that monumentally IMO! Now, send a message to the guys in the locker room AND to potential future FA's that we reward hard work & performance.

    (I see I'm dramatically in the minority here too! LMAO)

  • In reply to Alpha79:

    Fair enough. I do love the enthusiasm!

  • What bothers me more about the "Forte" situation is people are always trying to find ways/reasons NOT to pay this guy. I could if he had 1- flukky season where he numbers out of this world, and was laying claim to a big contract based on 1- year but Forte has earned (Not only a good contract) BUT the RESPECT of Bear fans and this organization.
    We all know it's a business and it's "Business" but, after watching this team bring-in Players- PAY THEM! eventho they haven't ran 1-yard for the team has to be dis-concerting and discouraging to a guy who has left all on the field for this team. Done EVERYTHING asked of him YET, he can't seem to get compensated... We pay everybody but not Forte? It's mind-boggling.

    I guess we'll have to watch Bush fail/falter and come-up short like Barber and other Free Agents before we "REALIZE" that we have a back(worth) of being paid already on the squad.
    The Combination of Forte/Bush out the backfield, Marshall/Jeffery, Rodriguez, Hester and Bennett as receivers, THEY has the potential to give defenses fits. NO MORE 8-men in the box. LB's covering RB's???-Goodness!
    I hope the Bears don't back this kid into a corner and he does something like sit-out a year.
    Sign Forte and let the good Karma of this off-season continue.


  • In reply to geeman2159:

    I've said it before: the Bears DID try to pay him. They ARE, right now, trying to pay him, and they're trying to do it long term. But they can't simply just give him what he wants because he's a good player—there has to be a line. The biggest problem with having an argument about it is we don't know exactly what Forte's asking for right now, and we don't know what the offer from the Bears is. I'd suspect there's common ground to be found, though. And I'd be for them finding it. But, to call the franchise tag, a collectively bargained tool, disrespectful is asinine to me. Having said all that, I understand your desire to see him paid, and I'd feel better if they found that common ground, too.

  • In reply to Adam Oestmann:

    Like my grandmother would say-
    "Pay him or do right by him"? Frankly, I don't care what the numbers are, I want the kid in Camp- Healthy, Happy and signed.
    I don't have a problem spending the Old Ladies money.

    I FORGOT I made a comment in this article(About Forte) and ASKED YOU A- similar question, over in the J-Webb article.


  • In reply to geeman2159:

    My bad ... saw this one late. I responded to you on the Webb post already.

  • I have made a good living in my life...but I will never come close to making 8 million. Players don't like Franchise tags because of injury risk but I do like the franchise tag and it is being appropriatly used here...I will not shed a tear for an athlete that is franchised, EVER! Only a professional athlete will whine about making 8 million...and Forte is not whining about it from what I read...sounds like he is taking it in stride and working towards a deal. We are all in charge of our own salary so I hope it works out, but if Forte or another team values himself more than the Bears do...then so be it. Forte is special and I want him to be a Bear...he is a real good player and a great complement to our offense. We are better with him than without him...hopefully he will see that he is better off with the Bears than without them too,

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