Tag Day continues, even though it’s now technically Tag Night.
The Bears have announced the placement of their franchise tag on running back Matt Forte.
“Matt is an important part of our football team and we chose to utilize the franchise tag to ensure he remains a Bear,” Bears G.M. Phil Emery said in a team-issued release. “We believe in Matt as a player and a person. Our intention is to continue to work to find common ground and keep Matt as a member of the Chicago Bears in 2012 and beyond.”
Forte, a second-round pick from Tulane in 2008, will be eligible for a one-year guaranteed salary in the neighborhood of $7.7 million. Unlike Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson, Forte likely won’t view the tag as a badge of honor. Forte has been pushing for a long-term deal, and he likely will hold out through the offseason, training camp, and the preseason, signing at the earliest a few days before Week One.
He can also stay away until Week 10 and still get credit for the 2012 season, but he wouldn’t be paid for any games he misses.
That ugliness can all be avoided if the Bears and Forte strike a long-term deal. During the 2011 season, the two sides didn’t come close to finding middle ground.