Chicago Bears: What Is Stopping the Matt Forte Deal from Being Done?
By now, everybody who has even ever heard of football knows of the Matt Forte contract saga, but let's get caught up to speed.
Matt Forte wants a new long-term deal with the Chicago Bears, and yet the team is still dragging their feet in signing him. It's not like the Bears are afraid of making bold offseason moves, considering how many moves the Bears have made already this offseason.
One of those moves even included signing another veteran running back rather than signing Forte to a deal. Instead, the team placed the franchise tag on him, claiming that they wanted to see how his knees were holding up. Of course, that could be what is really going on.
But in this business, there are always multiple reasons for doing, or in this case not doing, something.
The Bears Really Do Think Forte Is a Risk Right Now
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Hey, it's a possibility. Forte did get hurt last season, and his knees have been a major question mark considering the amount of work that he has to do on a daily basis. Forte has carried the entire offense time and time again. Last season, the offense finally seemed to be clicking before Jay Cutler went down. Then, it was back to an increased work load for Forte and the rest of the running game.
Before signing Forte to a long-term deal, the Bears want to make absolutely sure that they are getting the most out of their money, and not blowing it all on a player who is going to blow out his knees right after being signed, and make millions upon millions of dollars while in rehab.
The Bears have a legitimate reason to be worried, and they also have every right to take precautions in the signing of Forte for health reasons.
The Entire Organization Is Afraid of the Anthony Thomas Effect
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Anthony Thomas was possibly one of the biggest flops the Chicago Bears ever had. In 2001, he won the NFL Rookie of the Year Award. Thomas slowly went downhill every year after that until 2004, when he averaged only 10.2 yards per game. Thomas was a second-round pick, and after having great success with the Chicago Bears, he flopped and was traded all over until he finally left football to become a coach, which is what he is currently doing now.
The Bears don't want to sign Forte to a big long-term deal because, well, they've been through this before. They don't want to give Forte a ton of money to go downhill and eventually be traded. (For all you baseball fans out there, you could also call this the "Alfonso Soriano Situation.")
The McCaskey Family Is Just Plain Cheap
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It's not secret that in the past, the McCaskey family has been, well, reluctant to spend money, to say the least. This situation could just be another one of those times.
Forte has done well in Chicago, and he deserves to be making more money than the average running back. However, Chicago doesn't like to pay players above-average salaries. This makes for a standoff, which is exactly what is going on within the Bears' organization right now between the front office and Forte's agent.
Matt Forte is an exceptional running back, but unluckily for him, exceptional doesn't always pay well in Chicago.
Which side will break first? Or will Forte really walk if he isn't paid fairly? This situation could go on for a long time...
Forte Is Simply Asking for Too Much Money Right Now
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Matt Forte has done outstanding in his career so far in Chicago, and as such, he feels that he deserves to be paid like a superstar. However, that may be asking for a bit much.
The Bears just traded for Brandon Marshall and brought in a lot of new free agents (Michael Bush, Eric Weems, Devin Thomas, just to name a few). With all of these new players in town, the Bears really may not be able to afford what Forte is really asking right now.
Exceptional players deserve to be paid a lot of money, but after the Chris Johnson deal, players feel that they deserve more and more while organizations are left trying to come up with the money to keep their best players in those same cities that they have always been successful for. Maybe it is time for players to stop asking for more, more, more, and go out to show off what they are about.
If Forte signs the franchise tag, then he will be making more than a comfortable living this season while showing off his talents for teams to see when he becomes a free agent again.
This would also allow the Bears to see if he is healthy and willing to continue working at a high level of expectations for the team. No matter what way you look at it, it seems like a good deal on both ends.
This will not be the last season of Forte's career, and one season under the tag will not kill him. Will Forte crack and sign for less than he wants? Only time will tell.
For now, all fans can do is sit and wait.