Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that the Chicago Bears are planning on franchise tagging Matt Forte next season. I reported on Friday that the Chicago Bears approached Forte’s camp on Friday to discuss a possible contract extension. My source in Halas Hall tells me that this whole negotiation has been made difficult by Forte’s demands. While the Bears would like to work out a deal front-loading his bonuses this year, Forte’s demands are unreasonable. The team is still holding out hope, but unless there’s a breakthrough, this deal will not happen. The public out-crying for Forte along with the contracts of Tennessee’s Chris Johnson and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson are also complicating things. While the Bears have been known as a stingy organization over the years, they really want to do what’s right with Forte. He just isn’t bending on his demands.
By exercising the franchise tag option, Forte will receive a generous raise and the Bears will continue having his services. The Bears control Forte’s services until the 2013 season through the use of the franchise tag option. It will not get the team a discount, but it will ensure that they do not lose a valuable player.
As much criticism and Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo receives over some of his moves, he should be applauded for drafting Forte. The Bears selected him in the second-round of the 2008 draft has been a strong contributor. This season, he leads the NFL for yards-from-scrimmage and continues to be impressive week to week. Considering he’s on the last year of an approximate $500,000 contract, this is a steal for the Bears.
Last Friday on Rome is Burning featuring Jim Rome of ESPN, Forte said the following about the potential of getting the franchise tag…
That’s not something I’m looking forward to. “I don’t want a one-year deal. I want a long-term extension. I think if they use the franchise tag that’s kind of a cheap way to go out. That’s not what I’m looking forward to. I want a long-term extension. I’ve been drafted by Chicago. I want to stay there so it’s not something I’m looking forward to…Everybody who is doing anything no matter what you’re doing if you’re working and doing an exceptional job you want your boss to kind of notice that and not a pat on the back but compensate you for what you’re doing. That’s in anything you’re doing. It kind of makes you feel undervalued.
While I would like to feel sorry for Forte, I would like to remind him that the NFL is a business and most bosses expect employees to be productive. The franchise tag is not something the Chicago Bears invented to keep Forte down, it was worked out through the players’ association to protect top-players on a franchise. Considering that the figure should be somewhere around $7.1 million, it isn’t like it’s a slap in the face to Forte. If Forte wants long-term security, he needs to realize that the Bears hold the franchise card and his options are to hold-out or retire. As long as he decides to play football, the Bears are holding the cards to his future. Life isn’t always fair but in the case of Forte, it isn’t like he’s going to walk away empty-handed.
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