Chicago Sun-Times

Matt Forte says prolonged contract talks have left "scars"

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Bears running back Matt Forte is still holding out hope that his agent and the Bears can strike a long-term deal. But, he acknowledged to Sun-Times colleague Joe Cowley that the process has left some "scars."

"That's what happens when you get into the business side of sports," he said. "There's an easy way to get over those scars, but we'll see. Everyone looks at it and says, 'Oh, it's only about money. It's not only about money.' It's about you going out there and putting your heart and soul on the field, being respected for what you do, and then being rewarded for it."

The difference, of course, is how he and the team believe is a fair "reward."

The deadline for coming up with a long-term deal is July 16. If the two sides can't consummate a long-term deal, then Forte's only option is a one-year franchise tender worth $7.7 million.

For now, the two sides are still talking.

"That's a good thing, and we'll continue to talk," Forte said. "So that's good news that we're still talking. That's about it."

Here is the full text of Cowley's report.

In assorted interviews, Forte has made more cryptic statements, most notably that he would consider skipping training camp, if negotiations aren't going well. But he told the Sun-Times that the state of contract talks are far better than a year ago.

"Last year we were worlds apart, but it's gotten better," Forte said. "But I can't talk about the specifics."

So what is he looking for?

"Market value, that's basically what I'm talking about," Forte said. "There have been a lot of running backs that have been in my position that have signed, LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster. There's an area that we need to deal from, and we all know what that area is. It's just a matter of doing it."

McCoy just signed a five-year, $45 million deal with just more than $20 million guaranteed. Foster signed a five-year, $43.5 million deal with $20.75 million guaranteed.

Numerous teammates have insisted Forte deserves a new deal. But, Forte wasn't overly thrilled with comments made by quarterback Jay Cutler, who said he'd be "shocked" if the running back didn't sign his tender by the middle of July.

"It kind of looks bad when other people speak for you. [Cutler] doesn't really know what's going to happen. He's not in the negotiations," Forte said diplomatically. "He's just being optimistic. He wants me there, I want to be there. But it's just a matter of what happens in the next couple of weeks."

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So if there isn't a long term deal Forte will get $7.7 million.

The other two backs mentioned are getting $45 million and 43.5 million over a 5 year period with a guarantee of over $20 million.

Lets look at the guaranteed money over 5 years will equal roughly $5 million each year. Forte will get $7.7 million even if he doesn't get the long term deal.

Now lets look at actually contracts, $45 million over 5 years is $9 million a year and $43.5 over 5 years is $8.7 million a year and that's only if they do everything the contract states, so Forte isn't that under paid even if he doesn't get the long term deal.

Let's play some football!

Pay me even half of what the Bears are offering and they can scar me all they want. While I realize the business uses players as disposable, if Forte worked a regular 9-5 job for what most of us are paid he would realize how truly blessed he is and be thankful for it.

I liked the article dealing with whether or not Forte was worth what he thinks he is worth. He has not come close to performing as well as the two backs to whom he compares himself. I agree that he is definitely not underpaid at $7.7 million. I can understand the desire for a long-term deal, but Forte needs to take some reality check pills. Does he realize the state of the economy at present? Wake up, Matt! Join your teammates and help them win a Super Bowl by performing at your top level. Then you can make a bundle on endorsements which will more than make up for any guaranteed money or long-term deals the Bears offer.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on June 24, 2012 8:53 PM.

Jay Cutler to host ESPN Chicago radio launch party July 12 was the previous entry in this blog.

Lance Briggs: "Matt Forte has to do what's best for Matt Forte" is the next entry in this blog.

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