Last offseason, I was extremely angry at the prospect of no football, especially upset at the real threat of no international series game, but all that is in the past, of course another moment that has past, was Matt Forte’s best leverage advantage.
I was over the moon once the CBA was finally signed, but I never quite understood why Forte didn’t kick up more of a contract stink last season, holding out and really forcing the issue would have no doubt made the Bears a lot more willing to listen to his contract demands, however, as much as I was scratching my head at the time, I am extremely glad he didn’t.
Why you may ask? To be honest I look at Forte and I see a good running back that is very useful to have in the backfield, heck , in honesty the Bears have relied too heavily on the guy, but good does not mean he should be paid elite money, take just a few brief stats:
In rushing touchdowns he has never been in the top 10 come the end of the season; in fact in 3 of his 4 season in the league he hasn’t even broken the top 20.
Rushing yards he was ranked 7th in the league in 2008 (his rookie season), but since then he has only ranked just inside the top 20 (2009-18th, 2010-15th, 2011-16th).
In fact the only part of his game where he has broken the top 5 for his position, has been his receiving yards, for which he has ranked in the top 5 every season since he joined the league.
He really needs to work on his blocking, something I hope he takes note of from Michael Bush.
The crux of the matter is this, if Forte wants elite pay for the running back position, he needs to put up elite running back numbers, my main bug-bare is his lack of rushing touchdowns, it’s no coincidence the guys making the big bucks, are the guys who are scoring the most.
Now I know the argument goes that Forte has accounted for an extortionate amount of the Bears offensive production, but Emery has made great strides to change that dependency this offseason, only time will tell how successful he has been on that particular front, but I have full faith that the Bears offence will be a nightmare to handle this season. Forte missed the boat in my humble opinion, he is not going to be leaned on anywhere near as much as his rookie contract, as a result his worth to the Bears is slightly diminished.
I am not down on Matt Forte, I know what he brings to the table for the Bears, and I love the fact that he is our running back, because of his versatility, he is a top 10 running back, as stated, and the 1-2 punch that we will witness as bears fans this season is going to be brilliant. Truly though if you can, in your mind take the colour of his shirt off his back, and tell me you still think he is a top 5 running back.
In brutal honesty if I was Forte, I would sign my tender, take my money, work my backside off (as he in fairness has done previously), prove I am elite and get paid next off-season. To sum up he needs to create some leverage from somewhere to extract as much money as possible, currently he has none. Do I want to see him possibly leave the Bears? NO! Am I happy that the front office is looking to get the best deal possible for the franchise? Of course I am.