Bears and Matt Forte Still Not Close to a Deal

Running back Matt Forte’s contract is still an issue the Bears need to resolve. Forte has not participated in the Bears’ voluntary offseason workout program and can’t be fined for missing their mandatory minicamp because he is not under contract.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports Bears President Ted Phillips said in March the club had made a “strong offer” to Forte. The most General Manager Phil Emery has said is the team continues to work on a deal. Former Packers contract negotiator Andrew Brandt probably summed up the team’s stance perfectly.

“The hardest position to sink long-term money into is running back because it has the shortest shelf life,” Brandt told the Philadelphia Daily News. “There’s a graveyard of bad contracts that were given to running backs over a certain age going back to Eddie George, Corey Dillon, Jamal Anderson and Shaun Alexander.”

Recent pay days Forte will examine, along with the McCoy deal, are contracts given to Arian Foster ($20.75 million guaranteed), DeAngelo Williams ($21 million guaranteed) and Marshawn Lynch ($17 million guaranteed). Unless he’s gunning for a pay day like Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson received, those seem to be backs that create a range for Forte and the Bears.

The Bears want to make sure they are paying Forte for future performance, not rewarding him for previous accomplishments. He has been a durable performer before the knee sprain that cost him the final four games of 2011, averaging 19.4 touches per game over the last two seasons.

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