Windsor - July 16, 2012 - Talk about leaving it to the eleventh hour. Today, the Chicago Bears signed running back Matt Forte to a four year contract through 2015. The NFL’s collective bargaining agreement dictated that teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to get a deal done with players with the franchise tag.
It is reported that Forte will earn $8 million per season. Had he not signed, Forte would have earned $7.749 million for the 2012 season. This begs the question that if the two sides were only a quarter of a million dollars apart, why the heck did this take so long to get done?
The chatter about Forte’s contract began at the start of the 2011 season and then-Bears General Manger Jerry Angelo was either unable or unwilling to lock up his star running back. Many Bears fans hoped that once the team hired Phil Emery as the new GM it would result in this deal getting done. Instead, the Forte saga dragged on to the very last day.
Forte, 26, was selected by the Bears in the second round of the 2008 draft out of Tulane. The 6-2, 218-pounder is the only player in NFL history to compile at least 900 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving in each of his first four seasons.
The Bears’ website is reporting that Forte ranks fifth in Bears history behind Walter Payton, Neal Anderson, Rick Casares and Gale Sayers with 4,233 yards from scrimmage in his career, and sixth among all NFL players since 2008, trailing only Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Steven Jackson.
It seems like every July there is renewed optimism amongst us Bears fans, however this year all indications point to a very potent offence in Chicago. It is very possible that this season will mark the first time in Bears history that a quarterback passes for 4,000 yards (Jay Cutler), a running back rushes for 1,000 yards (Forte) and a receiver catches passes for 1,000 yards (Brandon Marshall) all in the same season.
I know I can’t wait for the season to start! Bear down!