The biggest offseason question for the Chicago Bears has been answered today.
The Bears and starting running back Matt Forte came to terms on a four-year and roughly $32 million contract, though no exact specific numbers have been released just yet. The deal puts an end to all the questions and speculations that have been going on since the injury to Forte in week 13 of the 2011-12 NFL season.
After Forte got injured last season, the questions started flying about when a deal was going to get done, because Forte had repeatedly stated that he would like to remain a member of the Chicago Bears for years to come, and the Bears wanted him to be there.
Once the offseason began, things turned grim, and quick.
In an interview with the Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, Chicago Bears CEO Ted Phillips hinted at placing the franchise tag on Forte, and that's exactly what happened.
Forte, upset with having the tag placed on him instead of getting a long-term deal, decided that he was going to wait until he got a long-term deal instead of signing the franchise tender. That was worth about $7.7 million for the 2012-2013 season.
After it became clear that Forte had no intention of signing the franchise tender, both sides began working on a long-term deal that could be agreed upon by both, but they didn't have much time. The deadline for teams and players to agree on long-term deals was Monday, July 16 at 4 p.m., or 3 p.m. in Chicago.
However, they didn't use up all of their time.
Just before noon on Monday, Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun Times reported that the Bears and Forte had agreed to a new deal that would last for four more years, and the report was confirmed by many sources close to the deal and the league.
Now that Forte will remain a Bear, players and media can stop worrying about what will happen if Forte doesn't reach a deal and if he doesn't show up for camp.
He can go join his team at training camp and get ready for a great season of Chicago Bears football, not only in 2012 but for more years to come.