Matt Forte: Chicago Bears RB's Contract Leverage Is Gone After Comments

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 23:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears celebrates scoring a touchdown  during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte has been locked in a tough contract battle with the club over the last few months, but he may have thrown away all of his leverage in the negotiating process with some ill-advised words.

The team has offered a $7.749 million franchise tender to the star, but Forte has been very vocal about his disappointment over the lack of progress on a long-term deal.

While the ball truly was in Forte’s court—with holding out an option for the back—the Pro Bowl talent has thrown it all to the wayside with his recent comments.

This went from a contentious contract negotiation to being on the Bears' back burner in a matter of a few seconds.

Forte told ESPN at a charity event about his likelihood of holding out for a long-term contract and his excitement for the next season, which is a complete 180 from where the star stood just a few days ago:

I don't think I really have a choice, do I? Yeah, I'll be here. It's going to be a fun season. I'm excited to get in there and talk to Mr. (Jeremy) Bates and get in there with Jay (Cutler) and see what he thinks about the passing game, and see how I can get involved in that, too.

These words do not mesh with the hard talk coming from the Forte camp since this contract dispute started in 2011. It almost feels like Forte is admitting defeat and just dealing with it the realization that he has lost the battle.

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 07:  Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball against  Brian Rolle #59 of the Philadelphia Eagles during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty
Nick Laham/Getty Images

That’s not a very good contract-negotiating strategy, Mr. Forte.

After spraining his MCL, Forte missed the remainder of the 2011-2012 campaign and may now realize his best option would be to come back this year and have a monster statistical season.

While the Bears RB had very little leverage in this negotiation process to begin with, folding his hand this year and taking a chance at next year may be his best bet. If he has a great year, the star will find a long-term deal somewhere.

Forte must have the best statistical year of his career in 2012-2013, though, and that’s why he is excited to get back onto the field. The man wants to win on the field and in the negotiating room.


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