As easy as it is to rip on the Bears ownership and upper management, they are, absolutely, handling the Matt Forte situation the right way. Don’t get me wrong, Jerry “we’re not gonna work any harder” Angelo saying that Forte isn’t elite is fucking ridiculous, but the GM is is holding firm on the leverage that the team has and shouldn’t give up. I don’t want to send the wrong message here- Forte is a special back. He is on pace for 2,494 all purpose yards, which would place him 2nd all-time behind CJ2K’s 2,509 in ’09. He is a joy to watch, despite playing in front of an offensive line that gives Jay Cutler nightmares 9 days a week. His vision, elusiveness, and amazing cut back ability have elevated him to a level that wasn’t imaginable when he was drafted. Who had him leading the league in yards from scrimmage (1,091 total yards) at this point in the season? No, no you didn’t.
Sadly for Forte, he is at the Bears mercy. If the two sides don’t agree to a multi-year extension before the season is over, the Bears can stand firm on their offer of Frank Gore type money ($13-$14 million guaranteed) and use the franchise tag on him. Forte will rightfully be pissed off, but he can’t sit out, because he will lose the accrued season if he were to sit out for a lengthy period of time. He will have to sign the franchise tender ($8 million) and go through this arduous process again. And guess what? The Bears can still offer him a Gore type deal a year from now, and again use the franchise tag on him. I doubt the Bears would do that because they like & value Forte, but it’s their arsenal. That is the cold reality facing one of the best backs in the world.
So how much is the “undervalued” Forte willing to risk to get what he ultimately wants? If the Bears came with an $18-$20 million guarantee offer, he’d sign it quicker than J’Marcus Webb gets beat off the edge. But that offer isn’t coming because it doesn’t have to. Angelo is sitting with a royal flush, and Forte is stuck with a 2 & a 6 off suit.
Now, if Forte was selected with the 4th pick in the draft like Angelo’s brilliant pick of Cedric Benson (insert sarcasm), you can bet your ass that Forte would have his new paper. Why? Because Angelo would be all puffy chested braging to the football world about the stud player he took at the 4 spot. Again, the cold reality for a player who isn’t a high 1st round pick.
Matt Forte has become one of the most dangerous players in the NFL. He is one of two Bears offensive players that matter and one that teams actually have to game plan for. If it were me, I’d disappear once the season ended. I would no show OTA’s, training camp & the entire preseason. Then, I’d pull a ’93 Emmitt Smith and sit out the first couple of regular season games to show the Bears I wasn’t playing around. You know they won’t want to draft another running back considering their numerous holes, so that could finally get them to cave if they haven’t already. That being said, his position now sucks, and he knows it. He can bank on the Bears doing what he feels is the right thing, but that could be a lonesome wait for the remainder of his time in the orange & blue.
Now let’s roll through the week 8 NFL picks. As always, home team in CAPS…
TITANS -9 over Colts
Jags +9.5 over TEXANS
PANTHERS -3.5 over Vikings
Saints -14 over RAMS
Ravens -13 over Cardinals
Dolphins +10 over GIANTS
BILLS -6 over Redskins
Lions -3 over BRONCOS
Patriots -3 over STEELERS
NINERS -9 over Browns
Bengals -3 over SEAHAWKS
EAGLES -3.5 over Cowboys
Chargers -4 over CHIEFS
Last week: 8-4-1
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to find some locks on this college football Saturday. Stay tuned…