Chicago Sun-Times

Bears agree to terms with Matt Forte on a four-year deal

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Hours before an NFL deadline, the Bears and Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte are finalizing a four-year contract worth about $32 million, according to a source close to the situation.

The two sides had until 3 p.m. CST to work out a long-term deal or else Forte would have had to play the 2012 season under a franchise tag worth $7.742 million. Instead, he'll get more than $18 million guaranteed, according to the source.

The guaranteed money is less than what LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster received earlier this offseason. But those players signed five-year deals, with $20.7 million guaranteed.

"I'm proud to be a Chicago Bear and excited to be here for another four years," Forté said. "I'd like to thank my family, my agent and the Chicago Bears. I've been working hard this offseason and am looking forward to joining my teammates at training camp next week. I'm glad the business part is done and we can all turn our attention to football and our goal of winning a championship."

The Bears confirmed the Sun-Times report by announcing that he passed a physical and signed the four-year deal.

"We're very pleased that we were able to come to terms on a four-year extension with Matt," Bears general manager Phil Emery said. "We're excited to get him on the field and continue working towards our goal of winning a championship."

The deal is a relief to Forte, a second-round pick who had outperformed his four-year, $3.7 million rookie contract. Backups such as Chester Taylor and Marion Barber made more than him the last two seasons, although Forte hadn't missed a game until the final four of 2011 because of a sprained MCL.

Before that injury, though, Forte led the league in total yards from scrimmage, and he earned his first trip to the Pro Bowl. With a base salary of $550,000, Forte was a finalist for Vizio's "Top Value Performer" in 2011.

In March, the Bears were among an NFL record 21 clubs to utilize its franchise tag. Several clubs appeared content not to work toward a new contract with the players they tagged, but new Bears general manager Phil Emery backed up comments he made in a statement in announcing the team's use of the franchise tag.

"Our intention is to continue to work to find common ground and keep Matt as a member of the Chicago Bears in 2012 and beyond," Emery said in the March statement.

In recent days, quarterback Drew Brees and safety Tyvon Branch signed long-term deals with the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders, respectively. Brees signed a six-year deal that included an NFL record $60 million in guarantees.

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You know I never got the the long contract thing a lot of players look for. Forte wanted five years? Why most of the money he gets is going to be in the first two years of the contract. All that really matters is the guaranteed amount and I think Forte is going to get most of it in the first two years.

I think the contract is about right for Forte, maybe a little high but it's in the ballpark of what he is worth. Moon said he talked to Forte who was not happy about the contract. But basically he had to take it, Forte may have wanted the world but Emery did a nice job backing him down and still gave him a nice contract worth probably more than Forte deserves. Besides you know after he gets most of the guaranteed money in the first two years he will try and renegotiate claiming he is underpaid and comparing the end of his contract to the front loaded contracts of other players. MJD anyone? Same agent, and best friend of Forte. This also points out why I think long term Contracts make little sense for a lot of players in the nfl.

Regardless of the money, it's a good thing the Bears got this done. If they can stay healthy, if their offensive line improves enough somehow, and if the defense doesn't play a year older, this team actually has a chance. They needed Forte to be in this position. As good as Bush is, he's not the threat that Forte is.

Sad as it is, so many of these players piss their money away before they get to enjoy it in retirement. I hope his agent plays it straight, doesn't screw him and gets him a solid financial advisor who convinces him to invest or defer the money. For example: Walter Payton, who never had much to say publicly about his contracts, had his pay setup with an annuity that paid him $240,000/yr starting at age 32 and lasting until he was 72. Doing the math that comes to $9.6 million--he was certainly worth the money, and by getting it deferred he doesn't gut the franchise AND sets himself and his family up for time after football. I would expect the annuity continued to pay out after his death, but as you saw he also focused on alternate investments.

Awesome. Chicago can now head into camp with no major distractions and have locked up their best running back since Neal Anderson. Like or hate the guy, nit pick away at him all you want, the bottom line with Forte is he's a big play threat every time he touches the ball and makes the Bears a better team. Forte's 89 yard touchdown reception vs the Lions in 2010 was the longest play from scrimmage in Bears history! Also, Forte is the first Bear running back to produce a 150 yard rushing and receiving effort during a season. Forte is the only back, along with the great Walter Payton, to have 1000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving during a season. Matt Forte might be one of the best all-purpose backs in league history with the fact he's the ONLY running back to have at least 900 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving in each of his first four seasons! Again, awesome! If not for the knee injury, Forte probably would have gotten a 5 year deal much like LeSean MCcoy and Arian Foster. Glad Chicago locked the Pro-Bowl runner up GO BEARS!!

Great to have Forte back and happy with the Bears. The deal was fair for Forte. Emery is showing to be a very good GM coming out of the blocks and Lovie is on the hot seat in 2012.

The division is going to be awesome to watch, even the Viqueens can knock off any of the top 3 Bears, GB and Lions.

Can't wait for game one and to see if the O line will hold up in 2012.

"If not for the knee injury, Forte probably would have gotten a 5 year deal much like LeSean MCcoy and Arian Foster. Glad Chicago locked the Pro-Bowl runner up GO BEARS!!"

No Kevin, no he would not have. His knee injury was minor at best and the Bears were unwilling to give him a 5th year before that. You know he was negotiaiting last year right? And stop comparing him to Payton and Anderson, how about Forte actually rush for back to back 1000 yard season before you compare him to the greatest ever, and the greatest evers backup.

Now Forte just needs to learn to score and run between the tackles. I know, I know, that's major nitpicking. Wanting a back to score and be able to run between the tackles, oh and pick up the tough yard in short yardage. I know those things are not really important to the running back position. What's important is he can catch the ball out of the backfield.

"I know those things are not really important to the running back position. What's important is he can catch the ball out of the backfield."

Yay Creighton! See? Now you're getting it! Tee hee hee! I always knew you would see things my way! You know, I think you and I could become bestest friends! Tee hee hee!

But if I could take a moment to be serios faithful Bumsteadaholics I have sad, sad, sad news to report. It is with a heavy heart that I announce the Bears waiving of Alvester Alexander. I knew deep down that he was a total beast, maybe as talented as the great David Ball or the wonderful Aaron Brant or the tour de froce that was Michael Okwo. I just knew Alvester would make 50 probowls if he staid on the team. Goodness, what a sad, sad day but I will have to learn to go on. Alvester will laways have a special place on my Bumstead allstar super awesome list of excellence.

First I really like beers haha :) , great post buddy - i really liked the style of your website.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on July 16, 2012 11:34 AM.

Matt Forte "optimistic" about long-term deal with Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

Great expectations: Bears' half-empty cup now half-full is the next entry in this blog.

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