Matt Forte wants everyone to know that he’s not trying to land the biggest contract of any running back in the NFL.
Forte was on the NFL Network Wednesday night after he was named the 33rd best player in the league in the network’s players poll and was asked whether he was hoping to become the best-paid back in football. Forte said that he wasn’t looking for anything more than a contract that recognized his place among the league’s best backs. He was also asked about feeling disrespected during the negotiation process.
“All you can ask for is respect, and you go out there and you do your best to earn it. Respect isn’t given to anybody,” Forte said. “You’ve got to earn it out there. So the way I go about playing the game, preparing for it and the way I play, I feel I have earned the respect. As far as being disrespected, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just the business side of the league. It’s unfortunate that when the organization does treat it as a business (but) when a player does, he gets frowned upon. You have to do what’s best for you and your family.”
The Bears are looking at things the same way. They have concerns about Forte’s ability to hold up physically and signing Michael Bush to a four-year deal sent a message that they aren’t going to break the bank to pay Forte. Whether or not that leaves enough room for Forte to land a contract in the neighborhood he’d like to call home remains to be seen, but the business side is definitely a problem for Forte moving forward.
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com writes that the Bears recently reached out to Forte about a long-term deal, but with the caveat that he signs his franchise tender before things can really move forward. If Forte does not reach agreement on a new deal with the Bears by July 16th, he will have to play for the $7.7 million tender or hold out from the team while giving up money.