Matt Forte is at a crossroad. On July 16, one week from today, Forte and the Bears can no longer come to terms on a long term contract extension till the season is over. Forte would have to play this season under the $7.7 million dollar franchise tag that he hasn't signed yet. With negotiations seemingly at a standstill, the likely hood of a deal getting done in 7 days is slim to none. So now Forte must make some tough choices.
Forte will sign his $7.7 million dollar franchise tag offer. It's just a matter of when. There is no way he sits out the season and leaves that money on the table. After making only $500,000 last season, the offer is to rich. Speculation is that Forte will not be in Bourbonnais when training camp opens. Some say he could skip the entire thing. Is that really in Forte's best interest though?
The time for Forte to holdout and demand a new contract was last season. He had leverage because of his role in the offense. Forte played the good soldier and took GM Jerry Angelo's word that a deal would get done. A deal did not get done. Forte and his agent see his value being a lot higher than the Bears as a organization do. Even with a new GM in Phil Emery, the organization has stood its ground. Forte feels he 's just as good as LeSean McCoy and his $45 million dollar contract. $20 million of that contract is guaranteed. The thing is Forte is a very talented and productive back, but he doesn't deserve that amount of money. So whether Forte over values himself or his agent gave him bad advice, the dollar amount for him and the Bears doesn't match. The Bears have reportedly offered $14-$16 million in guaranteed money. Forte doesn't agree.
So once the July 16 deadline passes no contract extension can be agreed upon. A holdout of camp doesn't get Forte what he wants. In reality the Bears could franchise tag him again next season too. So by missing camp the only people Forte hurts is his teammates. Forte still needs to get introduced to the new offense under Mike Tice. Forte will learn it fast, but it's a distraction if he is not in camp. Forte must decide on what type of teammate he wants to be. Most of his teammates have lobbied for Forte to get his money since day one. With that option unavailable once July 16 hits, Forte only hurts the teams chances to win a championship by missing camp.
Forte is at a fork in the road. He must decide on what type of player and teammate he wishes to be. There will be no long term extension this offseason. Forte needs to go out and play under the franchise tag and hope that some team ,if not the Bears, will meet his demands next year. Whether it was bad advice or a organization undervaluing a player, it's time Forte returns to field and prepares for the season with his teammates.
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