By Eric Schmidt

Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte was slapped with the franchise tag at the start of the free agency period, a move which frustrated the productive back which has been seeking a long-term deal from the Bears organization for two seasons now. There have been strained discussions this offseason and recent remarks suggest that Forte might be on the outside looking in for the 2012 season.

A report from the Chicago Tribune suggests that the team is concerned about the longevity that Forte has left in his tank, hence the lack of a long-term contract and the franchise tag this season for a $7.7 million dollar pay check for 2012. The Tribune reports that there were concerns about Forte’s durability coming out of college and according to a source speaking to the paper, there could be an arthritis issue with Forte.

Forte has lost a lot of his leverage heading into signing his tender offer after the Bears inked a deal with RB Michael Bush. Forte has sustained three knee injuries in his career.

Forte’s agent told the Chicago Sun-Times that questioning Forte’s durability was absurd. “Matt Forte is among the most, if not the most, durable, all-purpose running back in the NFL,” Forte’s agent Adisa Bakari told reporters.

Unfortunately for Forte, he will likely not be offered a new long-term contract from the Bears. If he wants to play this season, he’ll likely have to sign his tender offer or hold out and hope that the Bears can trade Forte to another team prior to the start of the 2012 regular season.

Running backs used to be the focal point of NFL team’s offenses but the league has moved forward to a passing league. Running backs are generally replaced on a regular basis.

 

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