Bears running back Matt Forte has done plenty of talking regarding the team’s failure to give him a new contract. Now, Bears G.M. Jerry Angelo has decided to do some talking of his own.
Before Monday night’s game against the Eagles, Angelo told WBBM radio (via John Mullin of CSNChicago.com) that the Bears have tried to sign Forte over the long haul.
“Matt was the only player we targeted and we made him, in my opinion, a very lucrative offer and it wasn’t able to get done,” Angelo said. “Our intent is still to have Matt play the bulk of his years in Chicago and we’ll just have to wait and see.”
It’s widely expected that, without a new deal, the Bears will use the franchise tag to keep Forte in Chicago for 2012. Forte prefers a long-term, big-money deal.
“We always have a plan in place and we will continue to talk,” Angelo said. “These things are not easy to do but we’ve always got something going on. Is there something imminent? No. But we’re always planning and trying to create options.”
Forte has calmly made his case for a new contract, without frustration or threats. Often, his words seem much more inflammatory when reduced to writing than when he utters them.
Most recently, Forte told NBC SportsTalk that “any other team” would have paid him by now.
The challenge for the Bears and Forte will be to gauge his value in light of a bizarre market, with a wide range of contract values and guarantees for veteran tailbacks and the annual ability of a team to draft a rookie tailback and pay him a slotted deal capped by the new rookie wage scale.
Forte has declined an offer in the range of $13 million to $14 million guaranteed. The gap between the team and the player currently isn’t known.