Matt Forte has had enough, and he is making his opinions well known to the Chicago Bears.
Forte has meant everything to the Bears’ offense since being drafted out of Tulane University four years ago. He has rushed for over 4,200 yards over his first four seasons in the NFL, and has also caught over 200 passes for almost 2,000 yards. He is the epitome of a dual threat running back in today’s game, yet he is continually disrespected by Chicago. At this point, who can blame him for making his feelings well known to the world. Enough is enough.
The Bears have not signed Forte to a long term contract, despite what he has meant to the team. He has taken pressure off of quarterback Jay Cutler, as well as getting the job done behind a lousy offensive line. Year year after year, instead of giving Forte what he so dearly deserves, the Bears have insisted on giving other running backs money to serve as his back up in a more complimentary role.
Needless to say, this is not pleasing to Forte.
Yesterday, Chicago signed free agent running back Michael Bush, formerly of the Oakland Raiders, to a four year deal worth $14 million with half of that money guaranteed. Now, Bush is a special talent, but another running back is not what the Bears need. After acquiring wide receiver Brandon Marshall from the Miami Dolphins to reunite with Cutler, the Bears still need help at that position, especially considering that Marshall is only one dumb decision away from another lengthy suspension.
“There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected!” Forte tweeted on Thursday afternoon. “Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last …”
He has a point, and has every right to feel slighted by Chicago. Forte later went back on Twitter to release the following statement, that “for the record I’m not mad at the signing of another running back. This is 4th time that’s happened. I embrace competition as well as help.” But as for not taking care of ur own and undervaluing a player under his market value is another story! #twitterrant”
Again, it is tough to argue with what Forte says. He continues to show up to work, has not held out into the season like other running backs seeking big deals, yet he is not being rewarded for what he brings to the team. Chicago is almost forcing his hand.
Even Forte’s agent, Adisa Bakari, got into the act yesterday and questioned why the Bears continue to go down the same road.
“Since drafting Matt in 2008, the Bears have signed Kevin Jones, Chester Taylor and Marion Barber, all ostensibly to serve as Matt’s backup. To sign yet another running back, prior to completing a contract with Matt, suggests disregard for Matt and his contributions to the Bears.”
Forte was designated with the Bars’ franchise tag recently, meaning if the two sides cannot come to terms on a new contract, then Forte will receive $7.74 million for a one year deal in 2012. Forte and the Bears have until July 16 to reach an agreement on a long term deal, or Forte can only play the upcoming season under the franchise tag salary. In the past, Forte said that he could be “hard to find” if given the tag, hinting at a lengthy holdout.
This could finally be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and forces Forte to holdout in hopes of landing a long term deal. After all, he only has to play the final six regular season games in order to have the season count and help him reach his impending free agency if the two cannot commit to a new deal. I’m not saying that Forte will or should go down this route, but neither am I saying I would be surprised.
Neither does it sound like one of his teammates would blame him, feeling he is being undervalued by Chicago.
“If u have a stud 3 down guy like @MattForte 22 why keep paying backups big $ every yr?” Bears tight end Greg Olsen wrote. “Crazy !! Matt deserves better.”
Yes, he certainly does. It just doesn’t appear as if the Bears realize that or are willing to recognize just how much Forte means to the team. Maybe a lengthy holdout would help them come to the same conclusion.