Chicago Sun-Times

Matt Forte talks contract, Jay Cutler, Bears PR

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I arrived in Dallas today, after Bears running back Matt Forte completed the rounds, as part of a promotion between Visa and the NFL.

He told Pro Football Talk that he hasn't heard anything yet, regarding a contract extension with the Bears but added, "I've expressed my interest.

"Obviously, I'm on my rookie contract and I've had a lot of production and hope to continue to produce," Forte told Pro Football Talk.

Forte is under contract for next season at a base salary of $550,000. Meanwhile, his backup Chester Taylor collected $7 million this past season after signing a four-year, $12.5 million contract.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Sirius NFL Radio, Forte talked about the criticism Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has endured since leaving the NFC title game with a Grade II MCL tear.

Here are some of his comments:

* On how he feels about it: "The reaction from the outside... was kind of outrageous, because they're not in the locker room with Jay. They're just saying how they would do if they were in that position, which they weren't in."

* On if he's surprised: "It's a shame. I know Maurice [Jones-Drew] really well. I think Maurice plays around a lot. But some of the other guys were dead serious. They had that platform, to try to say how tough a guy... But the key is word is, 'I would have.' They weren't really in that situation... I would never criticize another guy... because I don't know that guy, like that."

* On if the Bears public relations department should have advised Cutler to stay in the locker room or avoid being seen in public afterwards: "I don't know. Maybe they could have, PR wise. The way it was handled obviously wasn't the best way. He was kind of crucified out there by the media and by fans and things like that. That's a tough thing to handle. I just know that as Jay's teammate, and being around him for two years... I know he's a tough guy. So I have no question about it."

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Don't let another "Thomas Jones" walk away thinking there will be something better. This guy is for real. Deceiving top end speed, and quickness in the hole. If he gets even an average offensive line, he will be extremely dangerous.

The Bears must sign him, and Daniel Manning. The other free agents must be dealt with after these two.

Then, it is time to add to the O-line in the draft, and free agency (provided a new CBA is done). Logan Mankins might be worth the money. If not him, then they need to put 3 draft picks towards O-line and hope that 2 of them are good.

Taylor collecting that much more than Forte underscores the absurdity of the amount of money pro football players "receive" not "earn."Taylor clearly was not the power back the Bears thought he would be. As a complement to Forte, he was mostly a bust. A lot of that was the fault of the coaching staff, which never really gave him much of an opportunity to help out. He got a little more time at the end of the season and showed he could have helped out, but seven million dollars is absurd.

Ryan forte is not in the same category as TJ when it comes to running, he is a good running rb. He excels at being a receiving rb so even an average o-line is not going to make him "extremely dangerous", it will help him become a better running rb. Why must the bears sign d. manning, what has he done in the time he has been here. A few stats with that statement might help validate your beliefs, in my opinion he hasn't proven anything so far to warrant another contract. There are better safety's out there that I think could help the bears more than manning.

first of all who is ryan fortey matt would excel behind an average line if he put up 1061 with the worst line in football and he is a great reciever out of the back field next year we should be much better with one year under their belts hopefully a number 1 wideout and a free agent or two on the line matt is the next coming of marshall faulk and we dont need taylor or manamula I think kellen davis and bell can do the same job alot cheaper and we can spend that on an offensive lineman or a top quality wideout that fights for the ball

Hey Vic I got a question for you. Who is ryan fortey matt? Or should I say Victor rayn fortey matt is a character created by fans who don't use commas or capitlize names on the Bears insider blog. Kevin Armstead is sure to describe him as a Total Beast.

Victor | February 2, 2011 11:50 AM | Reply
first of all who is ryan fortey matt

up rooted 2 tx | February 1, 2011 7:32 PM | Reply
Ryan forte is not in the same category as TJ

Yes I missed the comma after Ryan, I really didn't think this would bring out people like Victor.

Oh and Vic Matt is not the next coming of Marshall Faulk. Sorry but Marshall was much faster and a much better runner. He is not even as good a reciever as Faulk. Faulk had sub 4.3 speed. Marshall had an NFL-record 4 consecutive 2,000+ total-yard seasons. He was the 3x nfl offensive player of the year. Sorry but Matt is a nice back, but he is not that nice. 6x All pro, 7x pro bowler, he was the reason the greatest show on turf was the greatest show on turf. Did you ever look at the way Faulk scored, I mean ny god, he had 26 TD's in 2000, are you kidding me a running back with 26 td's. Matt don't put up those kind of numbers. He had 21 TD's in 2001 those are QB numbers for crying out loud. He only played in 14 games in 2000, 14 games 26 td's. Manning would be happy with that.

Next Marshall Faulk? Hahahaha next Kevin Faulk maybe.

Forte is a solid back, but let's not start throwing out hyperbole just yet. I am impressed at how well he has improved his burst once he gets into the open field from his time as a rookie. He seems to be playing a lot faster, which means he is thinking less. That's always a good thing when you are a running back.

I agree Taylor and Manumaleuna are not worth the money we are paying them. You can't change the pace when the guy you put in is a less effective version of the same runner, can you? Taylor did a little better in short yardage, but we need someone who can thump a little more inside. Unga is a bigger back, and he will be back in the mix next season. not sure if he is a "big back" in the way he runs, but he has size that Forte, Taylor, and Bell just don't have, so he is our best option on the roster. We used a 7th rounder on him in the upcoming draft, so he needs to be in camp and competing.

Hopefully, this means the end of the Garrett Wolfe experiment. As much as he has carved out a role on special teams, we need a grown up on the roster who can do more than the Dennis Gentry draw play on offense if called upon.

If I remember correctly, the Bears have an out this year to bail on both Taylor and Manumaleuna, and get a minimal cap hit. I think they categorized the bonus money differently, so it would not be spread across the life of the contract. If that is the case, Tommie Harris, Chester Taylor, Brandon Manumaleuna, and Roberto Garza all could be candidates to be released this offseason. All were tremendous disappointments for what we paid them to do. Garza did a decent job, but he can't hold at the point of attack any more, and needs to be replaced by a guy who has both ACLs and can generate some push...

I would be fine with giving Forte an extension, as he will only get one more contract given the life span of running backs in the NFL. If they get him now, they can get a lower rate than if he has another solid season in 2011. I think we can give him Tommie Harris' salary of $5mil, with a $15-20 million signing bonus, and lock him up for another 4 years (thorugh 2015). If he is still healthy then, you consider a 1 or 2 year extension.

I will use the same "formula for success" with Forte as I use with Cutler. You will never know how good Forte is until he:

A. Plays behind even a decent offensive line. This line might be the worst I have ever seen in a Bears uniform. And my days go back to the 1976 season. Some of the lines in the late 70's were bad, but you had some young studs on them that hadn't matured {Lick & Albrecht} and eventually were decimated by injury. This current line has, for the most part, been injury free, but bad. And there is really nothing in the pipeline. Does Edwin Williams or Lance Louis do it for you? Is it too much to ask for, to want a guard or 2 that can, on occasion, get to the second level and take care of blocks there?

B. Has a legit #1 receiver that can command a double team and thus "remove" 1 more defender from the line of scrimmage on certain plays. Every team scheming against this Bear's team can consistently put 7 or 8 in the box to defend the run. As long as one on one defenders can muscle Knox and out fight him for the ball, there is no need to have a safety lurking back there for help.

I was pleasantly surprised at Forte this year and I even commented after the first Detroit game that he must have been hampered by injury in 09/10 because he is alot faster than given credit for. I don't know if you can call it "break away" speed, but against the Raiders {preseason}, Lions, and the Panthers, he showed that once out in the open he is gone.

As for Taylor, you could bring him back and get rid of Wolfe {should have been 2 seasons ago}. I wouldn't mind seeing Unga, Bell, and Taylor in camp fighting for a roster spot. If Taylor shows no more than either Unga or Bell, then release him. Who knows, if the NFL goes to an 18 game schedule, then maybe they don't have a practice squad or game inactives and all the guys would be available. They do need to part with Manumalauna(sp) and incorporate Davis more into the offense.

Joe, right on with the extension for forte as long as we improve the o-line. If they don't fix the line this year I don't know if we will ever find out how good he can be. If we do have that out with manumaleuna he has to go, give davis the chance lets see what he has. Gearheadboy I agree 2 big mauling guards would be nice, 1 FA and 1 early round draft pick along with a center or left tackle. It does worry me though that JA said that this was going to be HIS position to take care of, why now, what is so different than any other year. Is he feeling the heat the way lovie did before the season began. JA has to hit on everyone of his picks this year, quality over quantity nothing less, even on any FA signings.

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