By Eric Schmidt

New England Patriots WR Wes Welker and Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte both entered the offseason in search of long-term contracts. Instead, both players received the franchise tag from their respective franchise’s. Neither player has signed the tender offer from their team and will likely holdout through the offseason and perhaps into training camp, but according to reports, the players are not expected to miss any regular season games in 2012.

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte has desired a long-term contract from the Chicago Bears for two seasons now. Heading into last season, Forte flirted with the possibility of an extended holdout, but the rusher finally reported for the 2011 season, playing out the final year of his contract. The franchise tag which the Bears placed on Forte will pay him $7.7 million this season. Talks between Forte and the Bears are currently going no where but the running back told reporters he expects to return to the team in time for Week One of the regular season. Beat writer Brad Briggs reports that he doesn’t expect Forte to miss any regular season games.In case Forte decides to holdout, the Bears have already agreed to terms with free agent RB Michael Bush during free agency.

New England Patriots prolific wide receiver Wes Welker is basically in the same boat as Forte. Welker has been the perfect compliment for the New England Patriots style of offense, recording over 100 receptions in four of the last five seasons. He is coming off a career season in regards to receiving yards and touchdowns. Welker was slapped with the franchise tag prior to the start of free agency and is slated to earn $9.5 million in 2012. Likely to skip most of offseason workouts and perhaps a portion of training camp, Welker told WEEI that he won’t miss any games in 2012. “There’s $9.5 million reasons why I won’t miss any regular season games,” Welker told the radio station. New England has 12 recievers under contract heading into the 2012 season, adding veterans Jabbar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd this offseason. If Welker were to sit out, he would be missed in the offense, but the Patriots could survive without him.

 

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