Blog Entry

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

Posted on: November 2, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 2:31 pm
 
Posted by Will Brinson

Bears running back Matt Forte might very well be the most underpaid player in professional football. Forte's averaging 96 rushing yards a game behind a Swiss (cheese) built offensive line, he's averaging 59.9 receiving yards a game, he leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 1,091 and he accounts for over 40 percent of Chicago's offensive yardage produced.

Yet the Bears refuse to pay him. Or even talk about paying him. And may just end up using their franchise tag on him. All of which is starting to grind Forte's gears.

"The running back position is the most physically demanding on the field," Forte said Tuesday, per the Chicago Sun-Times. "Everyone acknowledges that. So to continue to give me the touches I’ve had since my rookie year but not award me a long-term contract sends the message that you’re OK grinding me into a pulp."

Look, the Bears and Forte are in a weird situation. He's blowing up this season and he probably deserves to get paid. And the Bears desperately need him on their roster.

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But if you're Chicago, and you're watching what happened with Chris Johnson and the Titans this season, how can you reasonably carve out a chunk of your payroll to give Forte a big-time deal when you don't have to? Especially since the franchise tag will be available after this season, even if it's something that won't make Forte too happy.

"If they think by just slapping the franchise tag on me that’s going to silence anything, they’re sadly mistaken," he said. "That’s not going to cure everything. It’s not a solution, I would say."

Reading between the lines, it's not implausible to think Forte might consider holding out if the Bears apply the franchise tag to him. It's reasonable for him to be upset, because he'll turn 27 in December and 28 the December after that, which means he wouldn't see his first non-rookie guaranteed contract until he was 29, should the Bears only franchise him once.

It's a legitimate quandary and although Forte's incredibly valuable to Chicago -- and the primary reason they've had any offensive success whatsoever -- his value takes a serious hit if the running back's contract takes up a substantially bigger portion of Chicago's payroll.

And if he's ground to a pulp, well, he doesn't do them much good at all.

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Comments

Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

I'm all about making players play out their current deals. If they don't like it, they shouldn't have sign on the dotted line. What is sickening is this "Franchise Tag" that is available to teams to restrict them from leaving and getting paid fair market value. Football is a lot different from NBA, and you won't have people jumping to bigger markets all the time. Players are comfortable after learning their 500 page playbook as opposed to the NBA, where you can just take it to the hole in every arena.

If you pay market value, the player will likely stay. The only reason they leave is if you are rebuilding/not a contender. In which case, you probably want to shed the payroll anyways. Why is big market Chicago owner so cheap?

I don't think he deserves more than $10M a year though. IMO he's not on the level of an AP or what CJ2K was supposed to be. I think 5 years/$40M with 23M guaranteed is a fair deal.



Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

As a die-hard Green Bay fan for the past 60 years, I seldom cheer for the Bears.  However, Forte is a difference-maker.  Seldom does one player make a significant difference in the overall success of a team, especially a running back with an ineffective line.  While I do not approve of Forte going public with the problem, I see few options.  My preference? Pay him or trade him (preferably to the Packers.)



Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:59 pm
 

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

I'm all about making players play out their current deals. If they don't like it, they shouldn't have sign on the dotted line. What is sickening is this "Franchise Tag" that is available to teams to restrict them from leaving and getting paid fair market value. Football is a lot different from NBA, and you won't have people jumping to bigger markets all the time. Players are comfortable after learning their 500 page playbook as opposed to the NBA, where you can just take it to the hole in every arena.

If you pay market value, the player will likely stay. The only reason they leave is if you are rebuilding/not a contender. In which case, you probably want to shed the payroll anyways. Why is big market Chicago owner so cheap?

I don't think he deserves more than $10M a year though. IMO he's not on the level of an AP or what CJ2K was supposed to be. I think 5 years/$40M with 23M guaranteed is a fair deal.



Since: Feb 14, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:58 pm
 

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

Garrard signed a contract and Jags cut him and didn't have to pay him crap they didn't live up to the contract.
The ability to cut a player is part of the contract tha Garrard signed, so the Jags did live up to the contract. Garrard is a pretty poor example to use, since what the Jags paid him for his career before they cut him was more than he was worth. In his career with the Jags, he was paid over $30M. Instead of guaranteed money, NFL players get signing bonuses - Garrard got $9M in his 2008 contract, plus $18M was guaranteed. In contrast, players cannot contribute performance up front (comparable to the signing bonus) by definition, and the team gets no performance commitment. You can get Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf. If you get Leaf, you don't get the money back.

Hard to imaging that Forte getting the average of the highest players at his position is unfair, since it is highly unlikely that he will be as good as the average player at his position over any reasonable timeframe, and most of those players are overpaid anyway.



fuzznutz
Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:51 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Sep 24, 2007
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

As long as the Bears are the McCaskey family's sole means of support issues like this will keep cropping up.
A dollar spent on a player is one less dollar they get to keep. If they could consistently draft and develop players
they might make it work but they can't. So they have to make big bets on FA's and hope they work out. Forte threw
them because he turned out to be better than they thought and they didn't budget for that.




Since: Nov 2, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

Criminal? How is it criminal? It is completely within the rules of the game, and I think it is the correct decision. Running backs start to decline when they reach 30, and you pay based off of what you believe future performance will be, not to reward the past. If I am the Bears, I franchise tag him next season and if he doesn't like the 8 million or so that will give him for 2012, trade him now while he is value is at it's absolute peak. Get draft picks, use them to upgrade the offensive line and wide receiver position.



Since: Feb 22, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:40 pm
 

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

pay that fucker



Since: Sep 22, 2010
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:39 pm
 

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

You shouldn't let your 4 year old reply under your name.  Matt Forte is one of the best backs in the league and what the Bears are doing is criminal.



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: November 2, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Matt Forte: Bears are 'grinding me to a pulp'

Give me a break.  He's being ground to a pulp?  On his 17-plus carries and 5-plus catches per game?  Seriously?  22 touches per game is grinding this guy into a pulp?  That projects to roughly 283 carries and 80 catches. There's nothing wrong with that.  Don't get me wrong.  The 80 catches are nice and I'm sure they take their toll...but 283 carries should not be grinding any 25-year-old NFL running back to a pulp; after all, when it comes to carries v. catches, it's the carries that really take their toll, I would think.  I wonder if Matt Forte can spell exaggeration. Never mind the irony of a guy seemingly complaining that he's getting ball TOO MUCH (You seeing this, Keyshawn?)...that's kinda funny, actually.

Either way...Forte is a nice player and will get his raise. But why should the Bears give him a raise now if they don't have to?  It's the same old nonsense.  Is Chris Johnson giving money back now that he's about as productive on Sunday as me?  Nope.  Do you hear the Titans clamoring in the media about asking for money back on the deal now that Johnson isn't doing anything? Nope. 
Yes, I know, I know:  "But the Titans can just release him whenever they want..."  Nonsense.  The deal is worth $53 mil and $30 mil is guaranteed.
Why should the Bears be forced into this potential catastrophe earlier than they choose?  The Bears are the boss of Matt Forte. If he doesn't like that...go buy an NFL team and be the boss.  AND...If Matt Forte doesn't like the Franchise Tag mechanism, he should take that up with his union. 

Otherwise...shut up and play.


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