Impending free agent running back Matt Forte told ESPN 1000 Chicago Thursday that he is open to receiving the Bears’ franchise tag so long as it leads to a long-term contract.
“If they are doing the franchise tag just to get more time in order to negotiate a long term deal,” Forte said, “then I would be OK with it. But if it’s just to hold me another year and just, ‘Let’s throw some money at him right now to keep him quiet,’ that’s not going to solve anything.”
Running backs have short shelf lives, and NFL teams aren’t obligated to follow up franchise tags with more high-dollar, lengthy investments if they don’t want to. Even if they privately say they will.
Forte showed in 2011 that he is willing to play hard without a long-term contract. He had the best season of his career on a per-game and per-play basis. New G.M. Phil Emery has made no commitments about giving Forte what he desires, and the franchise tag could keep him hungry.
“I’m tired of talking about it, and I bet everybody is tired of hearing about it,” Forte conceded. “The production level is there. Everything seems like it’s pretty simple to get done, so let’s do it.”