Running back Matt Forte is not feeling the love in Chicago. A month ago he took to Twitter to express his unhappiness after the Bears signed RB free agent Michael Bush to a 4-year deal to the tune of $14 million with $7 million guaranteed. The Bush deal was done after the Bears had placed the franchise tag on Forte which right now is good for one year and worth a little over $7.5 million. On Twitter, Forte wrote:
There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last…
for the record I’m not mad at the signing of another running back. This is 4th time that’s happened. I embrace competition as well as help
But as for not taking care of ur own and undervaluing a player under his market value is another story! #twitterrant”
I think he has the right to be disappointed. In 4 years with the Bears, Forte has been one of the most productive backs, both in rushing and receiving. He has total rushing yards of 4,233 and 21 touchdowns and has 223 receptions for 1,985 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Forte has helped bolster the Bears’ shaky receiving corps while also producing as the featured back. When a team delays giving one its star players a long-term deal and signs an outsider to one, it leads to a situation like the Eagles had with DeSean Jackson last season. Jackson played much of the season uninspired, presumably due to not getting an extended contract. The Eagles had signed or re-signed several players to sweet deals much like the Bears have done this offseason. Since the beginning of free agency on March 5, the Bears have traded for WR Brandon Marshall and also picked up QB Jason Campbell, LB Blake Costanzo and WR Eric Weems. They have re-signed QB Josh McCown, TE Kellen Davis, DE Israel Idonije, DB Tim Jenings and S Craig Steltz.
Forte missed the last four games of the season last year with an minor MCL injury. Some say the Bears will use this to justify not giving him an extended contract. But every player in the NFL knows they are just one play, one hit, one sharp cut away from a season-ending, or worse, a career-ending injury. And before that injury, Forte had started every game for three years. C’mon, Pay Da Man.