There was always a puncher's chance that the negotiations between the Chicago Bears and running back Matt Forte would get ugly before any real progress was made. As we quickly approach the month of June, it appears as if the ugly is winning the day and will continue to through the summer.
While Forte has clamored for a new deal since last season, the Bears have done little to appease him. 2011 came and passed without much in terms of negotiations, and Chicago then slapped the franchise tag on Forte once it became blatantly obvious that a new deal was far off.
New Bears GM Phil Emery gave himself a backup plan soon after, signing Michael Bush away from the Oakland Raiders as a fail-safe both in terms of leverage in talks with Forte and on-field in case Forte's grumblings lead to a holdout in-season.
Then came this past weekend, when David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bears may be reluctant to give Forte a multi-year deal because of worries with his knees. Forte had problems at Tulane and missed the final quarter of the 2011 season because of lower-half injuries.
To answer those claims, Forte posted a video of himself pulling a 100-pound sled up a hill on Twitter and also writing, "100lbs sled up hill i think my knee will be ok."
Healthy knee or not, the strained relationship between player and team leaves reason to be concerned about Forte's 2012 season. He has over $7 million reasons—his franchise tag value in 2012—to play all 16 games next season, but this contract situation is a dark cloud hovering over both sides.