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Bears say Forte will not hit free agency

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Bears running back Matt Forte’s contract is up, and he’ll be eligible for free agency on March 13. NFL teams can begin assigning franchise tags on February 20.

On Tuesday, the Bears publicly confirmed that they’ll either be signing Forte to a long-term deal or tagging him between those two dates.

“We’d like to (strike a long-term agreement),” Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips told ESPN 1000 Chicago. “But as (new G.M.) Phil (Emery) pointed out, we obviously will at least consider placing the franchise tag on him. We don’t have any intention of letting Matt hit the open market.”

The 2012 franchise tag for running backs is expected to cost roughly $8 million. The Panthers paid DeAngelo Williams a five-year deal worth in excess of $8 million per season in July 2011, and Forte’s agents would surely settle for no less on their own long-term arrangement. Forte is a much better back than Williams.

Thanks to Carolina’s overspending, the franchise tag looks like a borderline bargain for the Bears.

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42 Responses to “Bears say Forte will not hit free agency”
  1. dlmcc1010 says: Jan 31, 2012 7:09 PM

    The last sentence basically sums it up best. Carolina blew up the market and it makes much more sense to franchise him rather than outdo that awful Williams deal. Sucks for Forte he deserves the cash but Bears have too many other holes to plug too

  2. hamcamnewton says: Jan 31, 2012 7:11 PM

    Forte is a much better back than Williams.

    __________________

    No he isn’t

  3. ninjapleazee says: Jan 31, 2012 7:14 PM

    for christ sakes sign the guy

  4. pilot2011 says: Jan 31, 2012 7:27 PM

    That was a complete cheap shot to Williams.

    Deangelo splits carries with Stewart and Newton and still rushes for 850 yards this year, with zero fumbles.

    Williams and Stewart also rushed for 1100 yards each the year before, and the year before that DWill rushed for 20 touchdowns. The dude deserves his money.

    Forte had 2 fumbles, making that 12 for his career. Williams has been in the league for three times that long and has only had 6 fumbles.

  5. packernation90 says: Jan 31, 2012 7:27 PM

    Forte + Green Bay = 19-0

  6. cashed1980 says: Jan 31, 2012 7:38 PM

    I must say that with Javid Best’s health issues Forte would look real good in honolulu blue.

    Go Lions

  7. carolinapantherfan1984 says: Jan 31, 2012 7:40 PM

    dlmcc1010 says: Jan 31, 2012 7:09 PM

    The last sentence basically sums it up best. Carolina blew up the market and it makes much more sense to franchise him rather than outdo that awful Williams deal. Sucks for Forte he deserves the cash but Bears have too many other holes to plug too
    ______________________________________

    Williams is on equal footing with Forte…He didnt get a deal he didnt deserve. Hes been everything you can ask for from a pro. Part of the first and only 1100 yard RB tandem in a near 50/50 split. The FIRST back used in the wildcat in a game against Atlanta where he took all but 5 snaps. Weinke got those, while Dan Hennig was OC for Carolina before going to the Dolphins. And most importantly the FIRST one to initiate all the Breast Cancer Awareness pink u see in todays game by petitioning Roger Goodell. So if anyone thinks he hasnt earned a little thank you cash like everyone including myself thinks Forte should get then you’re hating.

    That is All

  8. pudgalvin says: Jan 31, 2012 7:41 PM

    @pilot:

    Forte also has roughly 400 more touches over his career than Williams. If you want to pay 8 million a year for a guy that splits carry’s and doesn’t fumble, have at it.

  9. childressrulz says: Jan 31, 2012 7:51 PM

    I will be shocked if the tight wads in Chicago finally open their wallets.

  10. nabz034 says: Jan 31, 2012 7:51 PM

    @pilot2011

    Stating the truth isn’t a cheap shot. Any team in the NFL would rather have Forte instead of Williams. If Panthers had there pick of the two they’d take Forte, trade Stewart and Draft a rookie.

    Williams was a humongous disappointment last year. They give him the bulk of the carries his first three games and when they saw how pathetic the results were he almost vanished until the end of the year. There were some games were he had less then 5 carries.

    An Elite RB would never get that little carries. Let’s get real.

  11. carolinapantherfan1984 says: Jan 31, 2012 8:06 PM

    Pretty sure i wouldnt call no offseason and an entirely new staff a dissapointment. Dont forget about Newtons 750 yards. And half of the league woyuld take Williams over Forte with 400 more carries and a torn ACL. Williams got a front loaded deal with the first two years paying the most and the last 3 less than 6 million. The salary cap doesnt go up this year. But next year it does and the Williams, Beason, Anderson, Johnson, and Godfrey contracts all go down. all sound like good deals to me. better than watching them walk and much better than dealing with chris johnson drama. who i would also take williams over. Johnson barely speaks english.

  12. pilot2011 says: Jan 31, 2012 8:08 PM

    “If the Panthers had there pick they would choose Forte over Williams?”… Thats just silly dude.

    Williams/Stewart/Newton all ran for over 700 yards this season, making them the first trio in league history to do so.

    I wish Williams would get more carries, but the Panthers have a lot of playmakers on the field. I would much rather take Williams over Forte. Sorry to hurt yalls feelings.

  13. pilot2011 says: Jan 31, 2012 8:11 PM

    @pudgalvin,

    you do realize that Forte has only 20 more snaps than Deangelo right?? Where did you get 400 from?

  14. trubroncfan07 says: Jan 31, 2012 8:20 PM

    I thought the new collective bargaining agreement was set up to pay the rookies half of what they used to make so they could pay vets that have out played there current contracts. This should have been done a long time ago Pay the man!

  15. hamcamnewton says: Jan 31, 2012 8:29 PM

    @nabz034

    Williams was a humongous disappointment last year. They give him the bulk of the carries his first three games and when they saw how pathetic the results were he almost vanished until the end of the year. There were some games were he had less then 5 carries.

    ____________

    Maybe you should watch a few panther games. Teams stacked the box at the beginning of the season because they weren’t afraid of our passing game which is why newton had back to back 400 yard games. The running game got going after that and Carolina was a top 5 rushing team throughout the rest of the season. I definitely believe they overpaid but Williams>Forte

  16. djbrown0811 says: Jan 31, 2012 8:31 PM

    Forte isn’t a better back than Williams. He may catch the ball out of the backfield better but he’s not a better runner. If Williams’ numbers aren’t as inflated because him and Jonathan Stewart get the same amount of carries, and it works. Both backs average over 5 yards per carry.

  17. isuhuskie says: Jan 31, 2012 8:43 PM

    They would be stupid to lock him up to a long-term deal when they can pay him $8 million this year (and give or take $8 million the year after). He’ll be 28 and have quite a few miles on him at that point. Plus, he was hurt this year. Even though he played through it… he was hurt his second season and he was hurt his junior year in college. If you owned a team, would you really commit a lot of cap space? Especially when this is becoming more and more a passing league? Matt is just going to have to learn to get by on $16 million or so the next couple years.

  18. tommytd says: Jan 31, 2012 8:48 PM

    Rest assured, if there is anyway at all possible for the Bears to totally screw up a deal with Forte, they will find a way to do it because that’s how the Bears operate. It’s in their DNA!

  19. pudgalvin says: Jan 31, 2012 9:01 PM

    My mistake pilot, I meant to type 100 touches, not 400 hundred. But the fact remains, the Panthers have the 3rd highest paid running back in the league who’s managed to rush for more than a thousand yards twice in 6 years and has had more than 7 td’s once in his career, while also not being any kind of threat in the receiving game. Forte’s production dwarfs Williams. You can talk about splitting carries and potential all you want, but his play doesn’t match up to his pay.

    The panthers of all teams should know how good Forte. The last 2 games he’s played against the panthers he’s had 47 carries for 371 yards with 3 td’s and 5 catches for 45 yards.

  20. berto55 says: Jan 31, 2012 9:22 PM

    tommytd- Totally agree, but in the opposite way. The new GM has an out for “disrespecting” the guy and will probably get a four year deal done. If the Bears do this, it will totally be a mistake and I am a Bears homer. The reality is it is a much better deal and risk to franchise him and make this decision next year. Even then, they can franchise him again and its better than a four year deal. What if he gets hurt next year? Then your on the hook. Great player, I don’t disagree, however he is an injury away from a salary cap wrecker and he is not been especially durable thus far. Plus if you tie up cap space you cannot upgrade the offensive line. The guy’s amazing if you consider the horrible line, but that’s also why you can’t tie up cap space….the line has to get better.

  21. bobbysmalley21 says: Jan 31, 2012 9:25 PM

    Forte is elite in every sense, catching blocking running, he is the bears offense

  22. howiehandles says: Jan 31, 2012 9:27 PM

    “I wish Williams would get more carries, but the Panthers have a lot of playmakers on the field. I would much rather take Williams over Forte. Sorry to hurt yalls feelings.”

    Only thing that hurts is reading yalls. All those play makers, and how many games did they win?

  23. gridassassin says: Jan 31, 2012 9:28 PM

    If I’m the bears, I tag him… Try to work out a long term deal – then tag him again. He’ll be 28 after the ’13 season – then let him walk.

    It’s a QB league now, just ask Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson.

  24. tmilla19 says: Jan 31, 2012 9:30 PM

    Since the Bears fired their last GM, who was clearly buying blow from Sam Hurd, there is a chance Forte gets his just due. It’s rather shocking Matt played the whole season while getting underpaid. Show some appreciation Chicago or kiss any chance of being a contender goodbye. He and (I’d rather not say this) Jay Cutler are your best offensive players. Maybe since Jay has knocked up a reality star, his int’s will go down since he knows he has off the field responsibility. Best of luck, you are in competition with the Vikes for 3rd best team in the North.

  25. fittytuckin says: Jan 31, 2012 9:45 PM

    @pilot2011

    You didn’t hurt my feelings, but instead made me erupt with laughter with that “the Panthers have a lot of playmakers on the field” line.

  26. gothwolf says: Jan 31, 2012 10:20 PM

    –Forte is a much better back than Williams.

    Um. No. He just gets a lot more touches. At the very least they’re equivolent.

    Career YPC
    Williams 5.1
    Forte 4.2

    2011 TDs
    Williams 7
    Forte 4

    Touchdowns per game started
    Williams 0.77
    Forte 0.35

    Fumbles
    Williams 6
    Forte 12

    Not sure where PFT finds these guys.

  27. frankdatank23 says: Jan 31, 2012 10:46 PM

    Alot of you know-it-alls ignore that Forte is the only player worth a damn in that offense, and thats why he gets all those touches. Williams is on an offense with some talent….. Steve Smith, Jonathan Stewart is a 1st round back as well, so the time share was forced, somewhat.

  28. obithejedi says: Jan 31, 2012 10:53 PM

    I’ve always wanted to see the Saints trade for Forte. The Saints could trade Pierre Thomas for Matt Forte. Each player can go back home to play.

  29. ditkadontbutkus says: Jan 31, 2012 11:08 PM

    Files this one under “No Duh”??

  30. orcheon says: Jan 31, 2012 11:10 PM

    I wouldn’t be surprised if he doesn’t want to sign with Chicago. He did say earlier this year that he doesn’t feel appreciated due to their refusal to sign him to a long-term deal.

    Then again, with his injury, he might not have as much of a choice.

  31. pudgalvin says: Jan 31, 2012 11:19 PM

    @gothwolf:

    That’s most cherry picked group of stats of I’ve ever seen. TD’s per game started? That is the first time that ‘stat’ has ever been mentioned in the history of football.

    How bout this:

    1014 attempts, 4233 yds, 21 tds
    223 receptions, 1985 yds, 9 tds
    in 4 seasons

    vs.

    966 attempts, 5047 yds, 38 tds
    134 receptions, 1057 yds, 4tds
    in 6 seasons.

    Williams yds per attempt better, everything goes Forte’s way. No nonsense about Williams not getting touches. Would you have Adrian Peterson split carries? Stupid. If he was that good, he would get more than 150 carries a year.

  32. dino2997 says: Jan 31, 2012 11:44 PM

    It’s quite amusing to see the Panthers fans commenting on here protecting DeAngelo Williams. Sorry but Williams wouldn’t even come close to being MVP of his own team much less the league.

    Forte on the other hand had league MVP consideration prior to getting injured. He wouldn’t have won it but he was in the discussion.

    Face it…Williams was SERIOUSLY overpaid!!

  33. frank booth says: Feb 1, 2012 12:35 AM

    childressrulz says:
    Jan 31, 2012 7:51 PM
    I will be shocked if the tight wads in Chicago finally open their wallets.
    ===================================
    I’d be shocked if you and the other 31 bozos who gave a “thumbs-up” took two minutes to do a small bit of research. The Bears have been in the Top Ten in team salary for the at least the last 4 years.

  34. bears46 says: Feb 1, 2012 3:16 AM

    Weren’t most of Cams rushing yards supposed to be passing yards? I don’t think you can say a qb scrambling is splitting carries. Pay Forte like a top back which is what he is.

  35. christopher525 says: Feb 1, 2012 4:43 AM

    Yes, Carolina overpaid for Williams, because there was no other contract signed yet in the new CBA. They offered a contract that normally would have been offered, without seeing how tiny the other deals would be that were signed after Williams. As for Forte getting MVP consideration, it’s easy to look all world when you’re surrounded by garbage. There are no REAL top 2 recievers in Chicago. They have no other runner that’s more than mediocre. They have Mr. Inconsistant/Mr. Softee at QB with Cutler. Comparing Forte to Williams is useless. I can promise you that fans in Chicago would take the bulk of our offensive players to replace what they have around Forte, while pretty much NOBODY would take the rest of the Chicago offense. As well as McGahee did this year in Denver, if Williams had gone there he would have been in the top 3-5 RB’s in the league, if for no reason other than playing 6 games against AFC West defenses. That being said, I WOULD take Forte over Stewart, but not Williams. Stewart isn’t bad, but that’s closer to the same style RB as Forte, while Williams is a pure speed back.

  36. tommytd says: Feb 1, 2012 6:19 AM

    tommytd- Totally agree, but in the opposite way. The new GM has an out for “disrespecting” the guy and will probably get a four year deal done. If the Bears do this, it will totally be a mistake and I am a Bears homer. The reality is it is a much better deal and risk to franchise him and make this decision next year. Even then, they can franchise him again and its better than a four year deal. What if he gets hurt next year? Then your on the hook. Great player, I don’t disagree, however he is an injury away from a salary cap wrecker and he is not been especially durable thus far. Plus if you tie up cap space you cannot upgrade the offensive line. The guy’s amazing if you consider the horrible line, but that’s also why you can’t tie up cap space….the line has to get better.
    ****************************************************
    Remember Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson? Wasn’t that decision a masterstroke?

  37. brennankm46 says: Feb 1, 2012 7:07 AM

    childressrulz says:
    Jan 31, 2012 7:51 PM

    I will be shocked if the tight wads in Chicago finally open their wallets.

    —————————————————-

    Congrats! You fall into the large percentage of internet experts who have no idea what they are talking about, but rely on misconceptions!

    See Contracts of Jay Cutler, Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs.

  38. 4dabears says: Feb 1, 2012 7:24 AM

    Pretty funny how all these closet Panthers fans post on a Bears article. HA!

  39. pilot2011 says: Feb 1, 2012 9:10 AM

    closet Panthers fans? What does that even mean?

    I’m pretty sure I only posted on this article because it was a blatant stab at Williams… I like Forte and I think he deserves his money.

    The problem is, he is the only player on that offense worth anything and he gets all the carries (and receptions) so he won’t last too long.

    Williams on the other hand getting 10 carries a game and producing over 5 yards a carry will take him well into his 30’s

    And MVP talk? Come on. If Williams was on any other team 2 years ago when he scored 20 td’s he would have been league MVP. (but he didn’t even make probowl)

  40. purplecrowe says: Feb 1, 2012 9:40 AM

    Get rid of the franchise tag. Player gets screwed being just a tackle away from injury. Forte is proven and in his prime, he deserves a deal with a fat bonus. Either you want him or you don’t. Pay the man or let him go to someone who will…

  41. jhumbe says: Feb 1, 2012 10:02 AM

    Call the Bears cheap if you want but it stupid to hand out huge contracts to running backs. Unless they are able to agree on a reasonable number, it just makes sense to use the tools available (tag) so there is money to allocate elsewhere.

  42. dino2997 says: Feb 1, 2012 2:18 PM

    pilot2011 says:
    Feb 1, 2012 9:10 AM
    closet Panthers fans? What does that even mean?

    I’m pretty sure I only posted on this article because it was a blatant stab at Williams… I like Forte and I think he deserves his money.

    The problem is, he is the only player on that offense worth anything and he gets all the carries (and receptions) so he won’t last too long.

    Williams on the other hand getting 10 carries a game and producing over 5 yards a carry will take him well into his 30′s

    And MVP talk? Come on. If Williams was on any other team 2 years ago when he scored 20 td’s he would have been league MVP. (but he didn’t even make probowl)

    ————————————————-

    Closet Panther fans should do some research. Before Cutler went down the Bears were scoring 26.8 points per game while the Panthers were averaging 22.5. I’m guessing there is more to the Bears offense then Forte for that to happen?

    By all means have Williams into his 30’s. Nobody else wants him at that salary.

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