Bears' running back Matt Forte has been the subject of much debate over the past year or so. Let the debate continue after the Bears and Forte reportedly agreed to a four year contract worth $32 million. The guaranteed money is unknown at this point.
I just hope that the Bears were smart about how much money they guaranteed Forte. Is he a good running back? Absolutely. Is he among the NFL's elite? Maybe, but the running back position in the NFL is so fluid that it's hard to come up with a good solid list of the NFL's elite backs. We just don't know year-to-year who will be good, who will be bad. Look at Chris Johnson, he was incredible in 2009 and 2010, then got paid, and really struggled in 2011. Some might attribute that to his holding out for almost all of the preseason, but the fact remains, we just never know.
The Eagles recently gave LeSean McCoy a five year deal worth more than $40 million and just about $20 million guaranteed. The Texans locked up Arian Foster for $43 million over five years with just under $21 million guaranteed. If the ratios hold up, Forte will have about $16 million of the $32 million guaranteed. I would be totally OK with that.
Forte is a guy who is as versatile a back as any, but he's had two different knee injuries after four years. That had to play into the negotiations. It couldn't have been an easy process, but they ultimately agreed. I think the length of the deal is perfect, and the Bears were able to be sensible about the amount of money they guaranteed Forte.
I think all Bears fans are thrilled today that #22 will be lining up behind #6 again. It's a little early to prognosticate the Bears' chances in 2012, but it's hard not to be excited for the upcoming season.
Training camp opens in just a couple of weeks!
UPDATE: Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the contract will include $18 million in guaranteed money. It's a little higher than I thought it would be, but maybe the Bears had to fork over a little extra cash to get him to agree to the deal.