Matt Forte and the Bears are running out of time to reach an agreement on a long-term contract, but Forte says he still holds onto hope that a deal can get done this weekend, before the Monday deadline for franchise players to sign.
“I’m a very optimistic guy, so going into this weekend I’m pretty optimistic that it will get done,” Forte told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “Saying my prayers and everything, hopefully it will get done.”
That optimism is surprising, because most indications have been that the Bears aren’t inclined to pay Forte the kind of money he wants, and that they want him to simply sign the franchise tender and play this year on a one-year, $7.749 million contract.
That will be Forte’s 2012 salary if the Monday deadline comes and goes without a new contract, and Forte has acknowledged that he’ll play on the franchise tender this season if he has to. But he might wait until just before Week 1 to sign: When Schefter asked if he’ll show up to training camp if he doesn’t get a deal, Forte refused to answer and (in an awkward moment in the televised interview) just sat there silently.
The good news in that scenario is that Forte insists he’s in excellent shape and will be ready to play as soon as he’s signed. He hopes that’s this weekend.