Chicago Sun-Times

Forte might sit out exhibition opener without new deal

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The Bears' "intent" to give running back Matt Forte a contract extension satisfied Forte enough to come to training camp, but left one significant hole: What happens if he gets hurt?

Forte has been in camp and has been running well in the first week of practices. But with less than a week before the first preseason game, the injury factor is looming larger. And the possibility exists that he would sit out the Bears' preseason opener Saturday against the Bills at Soldier Field, Forte said Sunday.

"It's our first preseason game, I've been out here at practice an I think I'm getting pretty well-prepared for the regular season,'' Forte said. ''Every time you step on the field, it's a risk. It's a risk when I step out on the practice field. It's even more risk in a preseason game. Guys are out there, trying to make the team, on the other teams. Sometimes you just want to be cautious about taking a chance out there.

And furthermore ...

"We're playing at Soldier Field -- we couldn't even practice there the other day because of the field. There's no telling what's going to happen.''

Forte said that negotiations with the Bears on a new contract are "going well. It's going to take a little bit. But the deal will get done, I believe."

As Forte explained it Sunday, he's not trying to be heavy-handed by considering sitting out the preseason game, just cautious. Though Bears general manager Jerry Angelo explained his "intent" to get a deal done was close to giving his word, the Bears have not promised Forte the deal would get done whether he's healthy or not.

''It's a concern of mine,'' Forte said. ''You don't want to go out there and go in a preseason game and god-forbid something happens and then they say, 'You're injured. We can't give you a new deal.' ''

Forte said he considers himself "one of the top" running backs in the NFL. Forte was 10th among NFL running backs in all-purpose yards with 1,616 -- 1,069 rushing (4.5 yards per carry) and 547 receiving. He was fifth in the league in that category over the final nine weeks of the season (961 yards -- 717 rushing, 244 receiving)

''I'm not going to say 1 or 2, but I think I'm among the top,'' Forte said, ''because I'm an every down back. I pick up pass protection, run the ball, catch the ball out of the backfield -- all aspects of the position that need to be done.''

And even though he's only 25, he knows that NFL running backs get old quickly.

''When you get to 29-30, they say, 'You're pretty old as a running back,''' he said. ''In this position, you don't really see a lot of guys get long-term deals. You don't see a lot of teams pay running backs.

''I've heard some people say it's an expendable position. They get a couple of new guys in every year. It's a dangerous position. I think it's maybe one of the most injured positions in the NFL.''

When Forte arrived in camp after contemplating holding out, he said he showed up because holdouts are bad for the team and bad for the player. But sitting out a preseason game is different, he said.

''Because I'm practicing,'' he said. ''When you practice, you're getting ready for a game. The only difference is we're not tackling to the ground. I'm still hitting people. I'm still running through tackles in the 9-on-7 drills. So I don't think it'll hurt that much.''

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Chicago needs to pay Matt Forte. Forte is just asking to get paid like a starting NFL back should get paid, not like a guy in his rookie contract. Forte even admits he's not 1 or 2, just top 10, which he is. I think the biggest thing with Forte is he wants a little security. Chicago always talks about how they want high character guys, it doesn't get any more high character than Matt Forte. Forte has by far been Jerry Angelo's best offensive draft pick, well, reward him! Again, he isn't asking to get paid like an Adrian Peterson, he just wants security, which he has earned. Heck, Chicago could get Forte at a discount! The guy averaged 5 yards a carry over the final 7 games last season and had a 4.5 to end the season, if he carries that over to this season, he will be a top 5 back, and Chicago could get him for top 10 pay, and yeah, he's only 25 years old.

Is there and every down back behind Forte on the roster right now, no. Without Forte I'm sure Chicago could get by with a running back by committee between Chester Taylor and Marion Barber, but neither Taylor or Barber are every down backs at this point in their careers. Marion Barber will give Chicago a nice strong between the tackles type, but after 6 season in Dallas he's proved one thing, he's not an every down back. Barber has durability problems, bottom line, he's a short-yardage and situational back. As far as Taylor, he's been in the league for 10 seasons, and like it or not has lost a step, the 31 year old averaged a disappointing 2.4 yard average last season coming in in relief, I highly doubt coming in for more carries would have improved that. Bottom line here is Forte is a 25 year old back who had a 4.5 yard average, Taylor is a 31 year old who had a 2.4, who would you want as your starter, pay Forte GO BEARS!!

Chicago needs to trade Matt Forte.

And I think in 2009 he was playing poorly and then we found out after the season he was injured. I took it to be that he was hiding his injury so that he could keep his job. He didn't want to give another RB a chance to replace him. And now he doesn't want to honor his contract. He's making threats. Some character, huh?

Kreutz did the Bears a big favor by forcing them to upgrade at his position. He should have been gone two to three years ago. Who knows how long the soap opera would have gone on if Kreutz didn't have such a big ego. He way overestimated his value and he should have known that this was going to be a shortened free agency market and he should have been prepared for a low-ball offer in his eyes. It was actually the best offer he got!

The media wants to spin it that Kreutz is getting $4 million but it's actually probably between $1.7 mil - $2.3 mil guaranteed. I'd think less than $2 mil. And it would be $4 mil with incentives. But what incentives, $2 mil for making the Pro-Bowl? The Saints didn't want to pay their center who I think was getting $3 mil, the $3. 6 mil he got from his new team. And they want to pay Kreutz $4 mil?

''I'm not going to say 1 or 2, but I think I'm among the top,'' Forte said"

Yeah, so he thinks he's Number 3!

I told y'all that he might think he was worth DeAngelo Williams money.

Aug. 2nd I wrote on the blog here:

"It seems by the numbers that Forte may get the same deal as Ahmad Bradshaw of the NY Giants if he were a free agent today. $18 million for 4 years, $9 million guaranteed. Which is $4.5 million a year avg.

Forte may think he's worth DeAngelo Williams money--$43 million for 5 years; $8.6 million a year average. There's a big difference between $8.6 mil and $4.5 mil.

I'd trade Forte for high picks from a bad team. Save that $4.5 million and put it to work on upgrading some other position of need, O-line if possible."

So, there you go. Forte DOES have a wildly unrealistic idea of his value. He thinks he's at the top but he's just average statistically overall for his career.

If he really is at the top then we should get some good draft picks for him in a trade!

Some of the posters here just can't get over their man-crushes they have on Kreutz, Olsen, and Forte. Players past their prime and those that have never lived up to their hype.

ChicagoTribune Bears reporter Brad Biggs once observed that for all the Denver Broncos turnover at RB and having RB by committee, they still achieved the same if not better production at the position than the Bears with Matt Forte.

Instead of grooming QB's now that Cutler is here for the next 10 years, the Bears should be grooming RB's.

Chester Taylor will give you the same production as Forte and is a more dynamic player. Besides the Bears already are talking about giving Forte less touches of the ball and want to spread the plays around.

Why do you think Forte wants to be extended now? He knows his stats are going to go down. Why do you think Olsen wanted to be traded? He knew his stats were going to be low in Martz' system. And if stats are low, guess what?

YOU DON"T GET PAID THE BIG MONEY!!!

From the players point of view, that is what it's ALL ABOUT. Not what's good for the team. It's what is good for the player.

This is the third threat Forte has given in a short amount of time. First it was he'd hold out from training camp. Second was that if the Bears didn't extend him now, it might be harder to sign him later; meaning sign him now or he'll refuse for sure and leave later. Third is, now he won't play in pre-season games.

You see this situation is causing problems. And Forte is causing it with his public comments and demands, not the Bears.

Forte is an average to slightly above average player who wants to be paid like a TOP player. If he is signed it had better be for minimal guaranteed cash and a boatload of incentives.

You should NOT be OVERPAYING for the position. You shouldn't be putting 40% of your offense on one player who stands a good chance of getting hurt. You should have others in the mix.

In the best of worlds, we would trade Forte to a bad team for a bunch of picks to build for the future. Denver, Miami, Seattle, Washington. Cincinnati, 49ers?

We can spread the touches around to Taylor, Barber, Unga and Bell and STILL get the same production, if not better. And you know Martz wants to favor passing over running anyway.

Forte being gone can then clear a spot to keep Dane Sanzenbacher, Sam Hurd or some other promising player on the team. That way we improve the team overall. We'll use Desmond Clark more. Other teams won't be able to just key in on Forte all the time. We'll be more dynamic.

Trade HIGH for once, before this becomes a worse distraction to the team than it already is. He's threatened the Bears 3 times already! And if they don't sign Forte this is going to drag out ALL season.

It's best to trade him early before the rest of the NFL thinks you are in a position of weakness. And if Forte says he will refuse to re-sign at the end of the season then the Bears are screwed.

TRADE HIM NOW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on August 7, 2011 1:35 PM.

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