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Bears, Matt Forte agree to four-year deal, worth around $8M a year

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer
Forte's patience finally pays off. (US Presswire)

Bears running back Matt Forte agreed to a four-year deal before Monday's deadline to sign franchised players to long-term contracts, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora confirms.

Sean Jenson of the Chicago Sun-Times reported the deal first. CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms reports that the deal is worth approximately $8 million a year.

“We're very pleased that we were able to come to terms on a four-year extension with Matt,” Bears GM Phil Emery said. “We're excited to get him on the field and continue working towards our goal of winning a championship.”

Over the weekend, a report emerged that Forte and the Bears were "extremely close" to getting a deal done. That push clearly helped get a deal done.

“I'm proud to be a Chicago Bear and excited to be here for another four years,” Forte said. “I'd like to thank my family, my agent and the Chicago Bears. I've been working hard this offseason and am looking forward to joining my teammates at training camp next week. I'm glad the business part is done and we can all turn our attention to football and our goal of winning a championship.”

Earlier this offseason, we saw a number of contracts to big-name running backs. The Eagles gave LeSean McCoy a five-year deal worth a reported $45 million. Arian Foster also signed a five-year deal worth $43.5 million with the Texans this offseason. And Marshawn Lynch signed a four-year deal worth $31 million.

So, depending on how much guaranteed money Forte got, he may ultimately be slotted correctly in terms of the contract. He's worth more than Lynch (in my opinion) but clearly isn't as good as McCoy or Foster, regardless of how much of the Bears offense ran through him.

Additionally, Forte was operating from a standpoint that lacked serious leverage: he had been tendered by the Bears, he's got injury history (recent injury history no less), and Chicago inked Michael Bush this offseason in order to protect themselves from possibly missing Forte for any length of time.

UPDATED (9:13 p.m. ET): More from CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora, who talked to a league source:

Forte will make $800,000 in base in 2012, $1.7 million in 2013, $5.55 million in 2014 and $6.65 million in 2015, for a total of $14.7 million. He also got a $4 million signing bonus, and has a $5 million roster bonus in 2012, bringing his total compensation in the first year to just under $10 millino.

He also has a roster bonuses of $4 million in 2013, and if he is on the active roster for a full season in 2013 he gets another $500,000 (it rises to $850,000 in 2014 and $1.05 million in 2014).

Forte also has $100,000 workout bonuses in 2013-2015, and can make another $1 million if he meets certain challenging incentives in the final two years of the deal. Without those incentives Forte would earn roughly $30 million over the 4 seasons.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our RSS Feed and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Will Brinson on Twitter here: @willbrinson.

 
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