Forte responds to concerns about his knees

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The Chicago Bears reportedly are concerned about the knees of running back Matt Forte, which in turn is influencing their willingness to give him huge money.

Matt Forte has a message for the Bears:  His knees are just fine.

100Lbs sled up hill i think my knee will be ok,” Forte said on Twitter, attaching a video of him running uphill with, presumably, a sled weighted down by 100 pounds.

The Bears have applied the franchise tender to Forte, under which he’d make $7.7 million for 2012.  It’s unknown whether he’ll ultimately accept the tender and earn the guaranteed salary.  In 2013, it would cost the Bears $9.24 million to keep him for another season.

44 responses to “Forte responds to concerns about his knees

  1. Forte should sign the one year tender at the last possible moment. Show the Bears the same commitment they show him.

    He is 26 and has a good three to four years of production ahead of him at the least. If the Bears do not want to sign him to a three year deal (minimum) the he should take the tender and give the Bears a minimum effort over the next year and protect those fragile knees they think he has. Screw the Bears. Forte has been a productive back and should continue to be a top performer.

  2. This is a win-win-win for the Bears.

    1) He signs and he plays one year for $7M

    2) He doesn’t sign the tender, the Bears rescind it, and release him, and owe him nothing.

    3) He signs and the Bears trade him. Not gonna happen after what happened with Chris Johnson last year, but still a good option for the Bears.

    Sorry Forte, this will be your last year in Chicago, no matter what. Too many cheaper, healthier options out there.

  3. Pay the man is right!!! Forte IS the Bears offense. I understand football is a business, but the point is to WIN while running your business. And, they are dead wrong for how they are doing Forte. He clearly gives them their best opportunity to win now. Period!!!

  4. No player wants to be franchised!!! Just look at what almost happened to Breese, if he was a RB then NO teams would have looked at him the following season!! If the same were to happen to Forte then his best case scenario would be to play for the veteran minimum for 1-3 years re-proving himself at which point no team would pay him well due to his age & mileage!! Hang in there Matt, they know what you mean to that offense!!! Bears brass: PAY THE MAN!! He’s the best Bears runner since Sweetness and could likely end up in the same sentence with Sayers & Payton when his career is over!! Are you really that eager to alienate or even part ways with a talent like that?!?!?!

  5. I don’t think the concern is his knees giving out this year. I think it’s more a fear that if you sign him to a 4-5 year deal, the wear and tear will catch up to him sooner rather than later.

  6. Well if Chicago is so concerned with his knees, then trade him off and let him be someone elses problem. Instead of screwing him over by not paying him what he deserves. He was a HUGE part of that offense. Now they have concerns? This is what sucks with the NFL. Players cant just go sign with other teams. The team literally owns them .. BS

  7. I see both sides of the argument

    Bears don’t want to over invest in a position that has a short shelf life.

    Forte wants guaranteed money because he knows in a real game those 100 lbs weights are actually 250 lbs linebackers and 300 lbs+ d-linemen that aren’t always behind him and could go after his knees.

    Bottom line – Bears need him on the field to be successful this season, whether its via a franchise tag or a long term contract w/ guaranteed money that he was already offered but doesn’t agree with.

  8. This is my first post on this site, which I have loved for many years by the way. I had to post on this topic.

    Forte did not have the type of injury that should label him as a significant injury risk (MCL grade 2). This strikes me as the latest attempt by the Bears to squeeze Forte. Last year, Forte pretty much stated that he was looking for franchise tag money in the form of a long-term contract. He is franchise tagged for $7.7M this year–the average salary of the top 5 RBs.

    Here’s a perspective from the pay-the-man crowd. Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune wrote a good article:….column?page=1. The following is a list of “blue tier” and “red plus tier” players and approximate pay based on Pompei’s article and spotrac:

    A. Peterson: 2011/5th season/$36M guaranteed/$14.2M x 7 years
    C. Johnson: 2011/4th season/$30M guaranteed/$13.5M x 6 years
    LS. McCoy: 2012/4th season/$20.765M guaranteed/$9M x 6 years
    A. Foster: 2012/4th season/$20.75M guaranteed/$8.7M x 5 years
    R. Rice: 2012/5th season/$7.7M guaranteed/$7.7M x 1 year
    M. Forte: 2012/5th season/$7.7M guaranteed/$7.7M x 1 year

    S. Jackson: 2008/5th season/$20.5M guaranteed/$8.62M x 6 years
    M. Jones-Drew: 2009/4th season/$17.5M guaranteed/$7.63M x 5 years
    M. Lynch: 2012/6th season/$17M guaranteed/$7.5M x 4 years
    F. Gore: 2011/7th season/$13.5M guaranteed/$6.5M x 4 years

    Here are a couple players who aren’t in Pompei’s article and are presumably “red tier”:

    D. Williams: 2011/6th season/$21M guaranteed/$8.6M x 5 years
    M. Turner: 2008/5th season/$15M guaranteed/$5.75M x 6 years

    If you rank Forte in the top 10, as Pompei did in his article, then he deserves “red plus tier” money. “Red plus tier” money for new contracts in 2011 and 2012 for 4th and 5th year players is at least $20.75M guaranteed and $8.7M average annual salary. I think Forte fits in this category as a 5th year player looking for a 2012 contract.

    S. Jackson’s contract in 2008 as a 5th year player and D. William’s contract in 2011 as a 6th year player are comparable. M. Jones-Drew’s contract in 2009 as a 4th year player and M. Lynch’s contract in 2012 as a 6th year player are lower. F. Gore’s contract in 2011 as a 7th year player and M. Turner’s contract in 2008 as a 5th year player are even lower. F. Gore’s contract was his third contract, which is known to pay less. M. Turner is presumably a lower tier player.

    The Bears started off last year by offering F. Gore and M. Turner money, which was a “low ball” offer. If the Bears had offered M. Jones-Drew or M. Lynch money last year, maybe Forte would given the home team a discount, even though it’s still low.

    If Forte had accepted an offer of $30M from 2011 through 2015 plus an additional year at $6M for 2016, he might have made $36M from 2011 through 2016 with $15M to $18M guaranteed. By refusing the original offer, in addition to the $555k he made in 2011, he may end up making at least $43.5M from 2012 through 2016 with at least $20.75M guaranteed—for a total of at least $44M from 2011 through 2016 and at least $20.75M guaranteed.

    Perhaps the Bears are stuck in an in-between place somewhere that doesn’t fit their formula for fungible RBs, although they haven’t been spending money on RBs as if they believe they are fungible. Perhaps they don’t want to pay “red plus tier” money, but they happened to have drafted a “red plus tier” player. It’s not like you can go to the store around the corner and simply exchange him for a “red tier” player. This is a great problem to have. I don’t subscribe to the philosophy of not wanting to pay “red plus tier” money to an RB. (Paying “blue tier” money for an RB is a different question.) But, if I did, considering all of the alternatives, paying Forte a few extra bucks seems like the least costly solution for the Bears. (The Bears have an ugly recent history of wasting money on RBs, beginning with Cedric Benson and including a series of expensive backups to Forte. Forte was the lowest paid RB by far of the projected #1 and #2 RBs on the Bears each of the last four years; and, he was the work-horse starter each of those years.) Plus, the Bears have already had Forte at a great price for four years, since he was a second round draft choice.

    In addition, sources insist that the Bears have not been interested in trading Forte, which suggests that they do not view him as fungible. Cutler stated in a recent interview that when Forte returns, he will “fill that void”—i.e., the one that Bush apparently doesn’t fill as a starter, despite being the most promising and expensive second RB yet. Since the Bears franchise tagged Forte, they apparently view him as a top 5 RB, i.e., a “red plus tier RB.” states, “Teams are also smart and guilty of taking advantage of the type of blue-collar player who plays for the love of the game, who loves his teammates and his team city. For agents, these players are their own worst enemy in securing early deals because teams know they can wait to the last minute to secure them a long term deal.” Forte is a “nice guy” who has shown that he doesn’t want to finish last and he wants to be paid much closer to the amount he deserves.

    If the Bears let Forte hit the open market, there will be teams who will be thrilled. I want the Bears to just pay the man!

  9. Offer him 4 years max. Don’t be stupid and have him under contract past 29.

  10. So, Chicago pays big money to the QB that gets a minor knee injury in the conference title game and totally quits on his team, but they won’t pay this workhorse?

  11. Stop making excuses Bears! Pay the guy, he has worked his butt off for you, it won’t look good to other players in the league to see a guy who does everything he can and then the organization refuse to pay him when his contract is up. Definitely won’t help attract veterans who look for loyalty in a franchise. ENOUGH EXCUSES, GET IT DONE!

  12. Jumped on Michael Bush ASAP

    Gave Michael Bush starting RB $, not star RB $

    Raved about his pass catching skills so far in camp

    They did Forte wrong shoulda let him go for $ elsewhere, or traded him for draft picks …

  13. Pay the man, their run is now or never…


    By that logic, a franchise tender ought to be just fine.

  14. I agree, pay the man. The Bears look like the best team on the NFL so get all of your players on board. This could be your year.

  15. The only thing Forte has givin to the Bears is his heart and soul. So might as well treat him like nothing and move on. I’m Illinois born and raised, but what the hell is wrong with Chicago!? I swear the cubs, hawks, n bears have a meeting every year n discuss how to ruin everybody’s hopes

  16. To start, I’d like to say that I’m a die-hard Bears fan, and a huge Matt Forte fan. However, for all of you “pay the man” people out there, I have some facts to show you.

    In 2011, Matt Forte ranked 16th in total rushing yards, once again failing to reach the 1,000 yard mark.

    He also ranked 40th – that’s right, 40th – in rushing TDs. Want to know some of the names that outscored this “elite” running back? Kevin Smith – who had only 72 touches – scored 5 TDs. Pierre Thomas, who shared the backfield with no less than 2 RBs all season, had 4 TDs. John Kuhn, a FB with 30 carries all season, had 4 TDs. Six QBs either tied or outscored him for rushing TDs. Hell, Marion Barber has 6 rushing TDs, and he was the back-up!

    Matt Forte is a great “between-the-20’s” running back. He is also an occassional homerun threat. However, his stats just don’t stack up to the other “elite” running backs out there. LeSean McCoy EARNED his extension with 17 rushing TDs. Forte’s numbers just don’t match up to his so-called “elite” status.

    The Bears offered him a fair deal last season, and Forte is playing with fire. He’s a good-not-great RB who should take a look at Johnny Knox’s injury video on YouTube to remind himself of why holding out is a bad idea.

  17. Forte has become a complete douche. He needs to realize that the NFL is a business and that teams are paying running backs less and less. He’s very good, but he’s not elite. There are a bunch of backs that are better than him. Peterson, Foster, Johnson, McCoy, and a couple more.

    McCoy’s is getting 20 million in guaranteed money and his overall contract extension is 45 million for 6 years. In the past 2 years he’s had just under 3300 yards from scrimmage and 29 TD’s. He turns 24 in July.

    Sportrac has McCoy’s average salary at 7.6 million, and Forte is supposedly asking 8.5 million. Supposedly the Bears first offer was guaranteed money of 14 million. I’m sure they can work to tweak that up a bit, but it sounds like Forte thinks he’s the next coming of Sayers and Payton and he’s bitching like a whiny wide receiver.

    Forte is 2 1/2 years older than McCoy (he turns 27 in December and is coming off of a knee injury that ended his season. In the past 2 years his numbers from scrimmage are a slight bit less than McCoy but only 13 TD’s.

    He’s not worth the money that McCoy’s getting, and just because Carolina signed a dumb contract with DeAngelo Williams (Arian Foster signed a similar deal, and he’s better and younger than either one of these guys) doesn’t mean that Forte deserves the same. Hell, after 6 years (compared to Forte’s four) Williams has 100 less touches.

    I think the Bears are concerned about Forte’s knees somewhat but also the inordinate amount of mileage on him for only 4 years. They can franchise him him for 7.7 mil this year and 9.5 in 2013, when he’ll be 28.

    I’d like to see Forte on the field, but he needs to realize his position from a business standpoint. When football players are walking out of the door to a big free agent deal, they like to talk about how it’s just a business, but when a front office views it from a business standpoint, they are considered to be disloyal.

    If he wants to hold out for 2 years of his prime, let him. I’m sick of his bitching and moaning. I’m not going to feel sorry for anyone turning up his nose at these kinds of numbers.

  18. Dude, Forte lead the league in total yards last year before he got hurt. He’s more than a runningback. He was the Bears whole offense and if you don’t pay him, what type of message does the send to the rest of the team? He is clearly their best player.

  19. @solomon151

    Leading the league in yards means nothing if it doesn’t translate into points. Points win games, and Forte can’t score inside the 20. Cutler is the key to the Bears offense, as proven when Caleb Hanie stepped in. Marion Barber was running just fine except for the Denver blunders. Also, with the additional weapons on offense (Marshall, Bush, Jeffrey), Forte won’t account for as much of the offense this coming year. Forte should cash in for what he can get from the Bears. He deserves a contract, but not the top-end money that he wants.

  20. Bears fans, wake up please. This isn’t Madden. “Trade him!” to who? No one else is going to want this guys problems (health, money). He’s yours until you cut him, period. He’ll be traded to no one, deal with it.

  21. 7.7 Million for one year…on top of what he’s already made? I’d take that and hope my knees give out so I can leave the game relatively healthy and spend the rest of my life spending.

  22. sometimes I think the business side of the game is beginning to destroy player legacy with teams…great players are tossed aside by franchises after running them ragged. He’s a great back so repay him with a 3 year deal at least JERKS!!

  23. If Forte is smart, he sits out the first 10 games – returning against Minnesota. He would still make 2.89 million, a significant bump up in pay, for only 6 games. He would also put the Bears’ “brain trust” at ease over their concerns of Forte’s arthritic knees.

    Forte, like each and every one of us, deserves an opportunity to earn his fair market value, which is all he is really asking for. Sitting out the 10 games did not hurt VJax’ fair market value this past season, as it won’t hurt Forte’s long-term value.

    It’s fair to commend the Bears for exercising their CBA options by using the franchise tag as a good business decision. However, it is just as commendable and valid business move for Forte to exercise his options as well.

    Best part is that the “concerned and caring” Bears would be sitting out the playoffs for the 5th year of the last 6, watching the Lions and Packers play on.

  24. Bears should offer a 3 year contract for 30 million with 21 million guaranteed.

    Bears get to keep their man.
    Forte gets his money and a chance at another contract.

    Which side does not agree to this?

  25. Fred Jackson and Matt Forte are basically the same type of player, both great at what they do. If either one of these guys listened to the crap thats said about them, they’d be sitting on a couch on Sundays instead of playing. Freddy got his money, now pay Forte, show some respect Bears.

  26. *** lolb23 ***

    >>> Bears fans, wake up please. This isn’t Madden. “Trade him!” to who? No one else is going to want this guys problems (health, money). He’s yours until you cut him, period. He’ll be traded to no one, deal with it. <<<

    You're crazy!!! There are at least 24 other teams who would have gotten this deal done last year or who would LOVE to have Forte at the bargaining table right now!!! Despite what you stat geniuses think about Fortes ability to score compared to other top backs, most of the NFL GMs realize that this is the type of RB they're all looking for and that is why the position is devalued, they're all going thru one after another in search of a RB like this one!!!

  27. *** bleedinggreenngold ***

    >>> If you plan to drag defenders like your pre-knee injury self, better drop 250-300 lbs in that sled, Matt. <<<

    100 lbs. + the weight of the sled UPHILL!! He may not be simulating exactly what it's like to drag a defender while gaining yardage but every other back in the league who run the "Walter Payton hill" don't use any additional weight! This is the same workout that Forte has done in his offseason training for a few years now, and it shows that he's just a strong in the legs as he always was if not more so!

    The point here is that Forte suffered a knee sprain, all of his knee issues have been sprains, no major injuries or long term damage. He has always been known for his durability and ability to be the workhorse! So for the Bears to come out with a statement questioning his ability to continue on being as productive while remaining healthy for a full season is kinda rediculous and I tend to think that they're only posturing, trying to negotiate his contract thru the media..

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