Bears running back Matt Forte previously said he doesn’t need to be the highest-paid running back in the NFL. And that’s a good thing. Because his new deal puts him far from it.
On one hand, Forte will be paid handsomely. On the other hand, multiple other running backs have better deals, including the franchise-tagged running back from Baltimore who signed a new deal later in the same day Forte got paid.
Initially reported as a four-year, $32 million contract on Monday, Forte’s deal is actually worth $30.4 million. The difference knocks the average from $8 million down to $7.6 million, which is less than the $7.7 million he would have earned under the franchise tag in 2012.
The good news is that the deal guarantees $13.8 million for injury and skill at signing, with another $3.3 million guaranteed for injury only. The $17.1 million in guaranteed money exceeds (barely) the money Forte would have earned under the franchise tag in 2012 and 2013.
According to a source with knowledge of the contract, here’s the full breakdown:
1. Signing bonus of $4 million;
2. Roster bonus of $5 million, due three days after the deal is signed;
3. Base salary of $800,000 in 2012, fully guaranteed;
4. Roster bonus of $4 million due on third day of 2013 league year, guaranteed for injury and skill at signing;
5. Base salary of $1.7 million in 2013, guaranteed for injury through the fifth day of the 2013 league year, at which time it becomes fully guaranteed;
6. Workout bonus of $100,000 in 2013;
7. Roster bonus of $31,250 per game in 2013;
8. Base salary of $5.5 million in 2014, $1.6 million of which is guaranteed for injury through the fifth day of the 2013 league year, at which time it becomes fully guaranteed (another $1 million becomes guaranteed for injury only on the fifth day of the 2014 league year);
9. Workout bonus of $100,000 in 2014;
10. Roster bonus of $53,125 per game in 2014;
11. Base salary of $6.5 million in 2015;
12. Workout bonus of $100,000 in 2015;
13. Roster bonus of $65,625 per game in 2015.
Those numbers, while solid in isolation, nevertheless put Forte behind six other running backs on each of a variety of key measurables. We’ll break it all down in a separate post on Thursday morning.