Chicago Sun-Times

Matt Forte's agent: "It's the team prerogative, not to negotiate"

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The Bears are done talking about a contract extension with running back Matt Forte until the 2011 season ends, general manager Jerry Angelo told WBBM Monday.

"It's the team's prerogative, not to negotiate," Forte's agent Adisa Bakari said. "Matt's going to do his best to focus on the season."

All along, Forte was hoping to get a new contract, since he's clearly out-performed his rookie deal, which was set to pay him $550,000 this season. By contrast, backup Chester Taylor, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent, made $7 million in guarantees in his one and only season with the Bears.

It's unclear how much Forte wanted. But, it clearly was more than the $13 to $14 million the Bears reportedly had on the table, according to ESPN Chicago.

"Matt was only desiring to be compensated at a level that matches his production," Bakari said. "We know what comparable running backs have been paid. And Matt was seeking that level of competition.

"Nothing more, nothing less."

Angelo told WBBM that after working toward a deal, the Bears are now going to focus on the season.

"That's something we talked about when we went into the negotiations," Angelo said. "We were hopeful. Not saying the door is shut. But right now our focus is going to be on the season."

We've spent a lot of time trying to work out an extension with Matt, and his agent did as much work as he could do. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to come to an agreement at this point, so we've decided that we're just going to focus on the season," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo told WBBM radio on Monday night. " That's something we talked about when we went into the negotiations.

We were hopeful. Not saying the door is shut. But right now our focus is going to be on the season."

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19 Comments

I really have a problem with this stance the BEARS mgmt have taken. They have said all summer long that Matt was a priority and now there are several market setting contracts to work off of, this deal should be easiliy done. The detail shows that Matt deserves $25-30 mill guranteed over a 4-5 year deal. This should be done by now.

Taking this stance, mgmt only makes Briggs look smarter not dumber for his negotiatiing in the press move. Now we have a player playing with doubt about the team's committment to him in a season that can quickly go sour with a bad start. Angelo is bumbling AGAIN !

Matt,

Fire your agent and take the deal before you have a career ending injury!!!! Don't be penny smart and dollar foolish!

this team needs to fire the g.m. and the coach. it is sheer misery to watch thirtyone other teams with the exception of the bengals and bears put and place guys that are not just looking to revamp there career but want to win i was just a kid when we won in 85.I would love to see winners at halas hall instead we have pretenders. we as fans deserve better and as long as this current staff stays in place we as fans will always be close but no cigar.i personally think the bulls win a title before the bears. at the end of the day we as fans need to be heard we pay ticket holders and satellite fees to see winners not misers.we as fans we are the n.f.l. revenue

Bear fans......This is it! I feel Bear Management is making this their do or die year, either the Bears win it all this year, or if not, watch out for the implosion!!! No new contracts, sign a bunch of other teams #1 picks to one year contracts, then hope for the best! Try to look past this year......Martz will be gone, Tice will be gone (unless he takes over for Lovie), Rod will probably retire, Toub will get promoted to coordinator of another team, Briggs will be gone, Chris Harris, gone!! Enjoy it this year cuz next year it's rebuilding time!!!!!!!

IF you ask me the bears are being pretty fair. If the guaranteed money is the issue it's the same Jamal Charles is getting. Jamal Charles is younger, for his career averages a unheard of 6yp, has a pro bowl, and can catch the ball.

If Matt forte is using Deangelo Williams contract as a precedent they he is surely mistakened. Even if Matt Forte is better than Deanglo Willams, Williams is vastly overpaid for a guy who only played 6 games last year. The Panther did the RB market a disservice. Considering the bears are even considering giving him Jamal Charles money (cause they are cheap) he should just take the money or I see Franchise tag in his future.

That's basically a message to Briggs more than Forte.

For once Jerry Angelo and I agree. Forte is nothing special, in fat he's not even that good. He is just a gimmicky back who can catch the ball. What we need is a back who can actually run the ball like Rashard Mendenhall but Angelo blew the chance to get Big M. Angeloy ou suck.

Forte is garbage dont give him any money. He should be a third stringer in my opinion. Even Benson runs better then him. I really cant believe all these stupid fans who think thre Bears ned to extend Forte's contact. Wow you make me sick. Must be Packers fans sense you want the Bears to shoot themselves in the foot like this.

jerry angelo needs to go with our defense alone we should have made the playoffs way more than we have his way of dealiing with players is hurting this team and if we lose forte and briggs its all on him he could have saved money by signing him this year instead there going to let him hit the free agent market and theyll have to pay him more if they dont loose him they have 19 mil under the cap instead of going out trying to make the team better angelo was cheap and went with bargains and now hes being cheap with cutlers best weapon he needs to go before our players start to because he doesnt want to pay them

Well older teams in a win now mode are always on the verge of implosion, a good organization usually will have drafted well and will continue to funnel talent into the system to replace older or injured players.

How have the Bears fared in this department, well they have like you said brought in other teams first round cast offs.

Vernon Gholston(Cut)
Amobi Okoye
Roy Williams
Brandon Meriweather
Chris Spencer

Then 5 Undrafted free agents made the roster as well.

Then you have Barber, Reed, Podlesh, Speath, and Hurd, who were brought in.

That's all you need to know about the Bears depth and how they have done in the draft. You can also throw in the fact that not a single back up on the offensive line was drafted by the Bears, that 3 out of 4 starters on the D-Line were free agents signings, and Cutler was a trade. The depth on the team is terrible.

Not sure what the deal is with Forte but they did this with Manning who they loved and now he is gone. Could be a franchise tag in his future and he does not have the money to hold out. I hope he has a huge year, that will make them really sweat.

Good news Peter King picked the Falcons to win the NFC, Kiss of death, welcome to Chicago dirty birds.

Pass up $15 million to chance a year as an NFL running back for $1/2 million? You gotta be nuts man. Then, if he lives through this year, the Bears will francise him next year and he will just get a one year deal.

Think the Bears management wins? This current contract is clearly unfair and they are still letting it play out. Just watch, it will cost the team too. If I was him I would think me up a 3 week hammy followed by a mild concussion for 3-4 weeks. Just milk it to play about 6 games at the end of the year to keep my stock up.

I'm really diaappointed in both sides. Stupid across the board.

This is fair money for Forte, he's not that good. Bears are being fair and Forte believes his hype. I have no problems with letting Forte go, as someone else said he is a "gimmicky" back.

I don't think Forte is a gimmicky back, I don't think he is a great RB either. But he is a very good back. He produced in two different offenses, that says something.

Sean is that 13-14 mil in guarantees they are offering? Cause 13-14 million is very low fir him. That's a solid number 2 backs money. Gore got 21 but has produced better, than Forte, however that was a three year deal and not including the money it's tacked on top of.

Now looking Taylor he got a 4 year 14 mil in 06 and a 4 year 12.5 in 10. So are they saying Taylor is the better back? It would not seem that way as they cut him for suckage. 4 year 18.5-20 million seems right to me, given the market. If that 13-14 is guaranteed that makes sense, but if that is a full contract offer he is being low balled no question.

Matt Forte went out last season putting up some numbers rushing wise. Over the final 8 contest last season, Forte avg 84 yards rushing a game, and if the 3rd pre-season game this year vs the Titans, the one where the starters play through quarter 3, is any indication, Forte almost put up 80 yards in 3 quarters, Forte could carry these rushing totals into this season. If so, 84 yards a game for 16 games is a little over 1,300 yards rushing. If Forte does this, and also has his normal 50 receptions, Chicago is gonna have to pay Forte. It might have been cheaper to pay Forte now.

And lets not kid ourselves here, Forte is hands down the best back on this team. Barring injury, Forte is looking at a pretty good pay day GO BEARS!!

I agree witth you Kevin, it would be cheaper to sign him now, because even if they use the "Franchise" tag on him his salary inflates to top five at his position and the BEARS in the future would have to negotiate off that figure, which not only include Chris Johnson's deal but also AP"s deal which will be higher. The contracts out there now in the 25-30 mil range are good numbers for the BEARS to pay in this market over five years max, whcih averages out to more than they offer Kreutz on that one year deal he declined. I just hope Angelo does not bungle this deal, it could hurt the team in the future.

I think management is nuts for renegotiating any existing contract. Do the players give money back when they have a garbage season? No, they just keep collecting that paycheck. Briggs is a primadonna. Let him go, they'll fill his spot eventually.

I think the Bears should really get aggresive in signing Forte. Maybe he is asking for a ridiculous amount of money - and that's what's complicating things.

Creghton, I'm surpised at your luke-warm take on Forte. The guy has produced pretty well with what I believe is one of the 5 worst offensive lines in the NFL. That's passing and run blocking. They look like they're on the rise, but, only time will tell.

IMO, Jerry can't let clowns like Lance Briggs hold him hostage ... but Matt Forte? Come on, the guy is a solid back who does more than just "break away."

I like Rashard Mendenhall too. He is a stude and has explosive running power - but he hasn't actually been mentally or physically stable for Pittsburgh - and the Steelers have a quality offensie line.

I really think the Bears need Forte.

This happens to every team, every year. They take a break for the opening week, and see if the first couple of games changes anything on either side. Then they come back to the table in week 3 or 4, and a deal gets done. I think there is a benefit to completing it prior to the trade deadline as far as cap hit this year, but I don't remember what it was. Honestly, Forte needs to get a deal in the range of 5 years, $35 million, with $18Mil guaranteed, and that should get it done.

My guess is this will all be resolved before the end of October.

With Roy "rocks in his uniform" Williams, and the cast of merry misfits Jerry and Lovie call a receiving corps this year, Forte is going to light it up early and often as far as being used in the offense. His value will not go down, unless he gets hurt.

What you said is not completely accurate. It's definately one sided.

In the first place Forte is not asking to renegotiate his contract. He is asking for an extension that would add years at a higher salary. He would get a signing bonus for his extension this year, but his higher base salary would not kick in until next year. It is unlikely they will tear up his rookie contract. They will add to it for the coming years.

I'm not sure what Briggs is asking so it could be a renegotiation. It probably would still be an extension. That water is a lot more muddy because he has so many years left. In my opinion Briggs is just making noise this year in preparation for the coming off-season.

Another thing you said is true, but not the whole story. OK, NFL players do not usually return money they have been paid, but they do get cut. They sometimes get cut even if they are playing OK. For example David Garrard was probably the best QB on his team, did nothing wrong and was healthy. The Jags cut him because they didn't want to pay him on his contract this year. Even though he had a contract, he is not going to get paid.

This doesn't work in MLB or the NBA. Most of those veteran contracts are fully guaranteed. If guys like Zambrano and Soriano get hurt of just decide to tank, they get paid anyway. NFL players don't.

If Briggs or Forte tear up a knee in the first quarter Sunday, they don't get paid a dime after this year.

I am fine with Forte I just don't think he is a top 10 back. And just to be accurate, he didn't have the worst run blocking line in football last year. They were the worst pass blocking line in football, they ranked 32nd in pass, 24th in run and 31st in penalties.

The Titans had the worst run blocking line in football, then the Steelers, Seahawks, Rams, Bucs, Vikings, Bills, Skins, Lions, Cards, and the Browns, all were weaker in run blocking than the Bears.

Johnson, Hillis, Peterson, all put up better rushing numbers and did behind weaker lines with almost no help at QB, non of there teams could stretch the field. Blount only started 7 games and had a better average and almost as many yards, Mendenhall didn't match his average but had more yards and crushed Forte in TD's. Ellis in New England is an undrafted nobody, but his numbers are almost identical to Forte's except once again he crushes Forte in rushing TD's. Which is the biggest knock on Forte, he kinda sucks in short yardage and goaline rushing. I mean was he much better than Fred Jackson, not really and who the hell is Fred Jackson? The guy was an undrafted free agent from the NIFL.

I think he is a very good back but not a top 10 back, I figure a 4 year 20 million dollar contract is a good deal for him. He may be a top 5 recieving back back, a top 10 blocker, but he is only a top 20 rusher. He is in a system that is perfect for him, he has a very good run blocking line coach, he should have a good year, if he doesn't get hurt, he will get his money.

Hey If the Bears wanted a Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, or Jamall Charles, they could have drafted any of them. Chris Williams ladies and gentelmen. If they wanted a guard the ycould have had Chilo Rachel in the second a top 5 guard last year according to PFF, or Carl Nicks in the 5th who was the number 1 rated LG in football last year by PFF, by the way Chilo was a pick of mine that year and Nicks was a Joe F guy. Could have had Sitton in the 4th another of my picks that year, the Bears took Steltz instead. Jerry Angelo should have listened to the Bears insider, they would have had an amazing draft.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on September 6, 2011 11:50 AM.

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