Whether you think Matt Forte deserves the 4 year $31.5 million extension (with $17.1 million in guarantees. By tagging him twice, they would have owed him $17.03 million) from the Bears is irrelevant. The only player in NFL history to gain 900 yards rushing and 400 receiving in each of his first four seasons got paid by the team that drafted him. There are solid points to be made on both sides of the argument, and you aren’t wrong.
You can say that in a passing league, placing value on a running back coming off an MCL injury with a ton of wear & tear on his body doesn’t make sense with Michael Bush in the fold. You can bring up Forte’s struggles in the red zone and short yardage situations as proof that he’s not a truly elite running back like my favorite back in the league, LeSean McCoy. And you wouldn’t be wrong by saying that the Bears should save some of their cap space going forward for their positions of need (cornerback, safety, left tackle, center, linebacker & defensive tackle).
But I don’t mind Phil Emery locking up Forte now because it takes care of one the more productive players on the team, sends a message to other guys in the locker room that the front office values & wants to take care of their own, and most of all takes away another potential need at draft time next April. Emery probably views this deal as a way to basically forget about the running back position for the next 3 years in order to focus on the above mentioned needs.
But the beauty of this signing more than anything is that the Bears can start training camp without any bullshit hanging over their heads. There won’t be the daily questions of “When’s Forte showing up?” or “Will not getting a deal done cause Forte to drift and not sell out for his team?”
Lovie Smith is great at not letting the media shit storm negatively affect the focus of the team, and it can be all ball for the duration of the preseason. That’s fantastic news for ecstatic Bears fans that know a special season could be on the horizon.
And unlike Wanny’s “The pieces are in place” garbage from ’96, this team is actually solidified to compete for the NFC Championship and a Super Bowl. Forte isn’t just one of four Bears to gain at least 4,000 rushing yards (4,233) and 1,500 receiving yards (1,985) in his career, he’s a vital piece to a revamped offense that has this annoyance off of his shoulders.
So while the Lions will face questions about their 37 player arrests (it’s 6, but it seems like 37), the Bears will be locked in focusing on over taking the Packers in the NFC North. While Victor Cruz will be asked about his comments about the Cowboys & Eagles not being on the Giants’ level, the Bears will be perfecting Mike Tice’s new offense. And while Rex Ryan and the Jets’ circus will create headlines, the Bears will quietly go about their business and finding a way to get back to the Super Bowl. Monday was a great day for Matt Forte, but it was an even better day for a team that can now go to camp and start to focus on the goal that matters. The Lombardi.