Matt Forte is just sitting back and letting the market for his services set itself. In the last year, several running backs have gotten new paper and much to the Bears’ chagrin, the price of poker keeps going up. LeSean McCoy is the letter running back of comparable skill to get new paper. He agreed to terms on a 5-year deal reportedly worth up to $45 million with about $20.7 in guaranteed money.
Forte is currently sitting on the Franchise Tag from the Bears, which would pay him about $7.7 in 2012, but his situation is different from McCoy, who still had a year left on his deal with the Eagles. If you set aside the monster deals that Arian Foster, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson recently received, the guaranteed money for McCoy ($20.7 million), DeAngelo Williams ($21 million) and Marshawn Lynch ($17 million) seem to be setting the market for Forte.
The Bears reportedly offered Forte about $14 million guaranteed last season, which Forte rejected while playing out his rookie deal that paid him a paltry $770k. As Brad Biggs quotes former contract negotiator Andrew Brandt, this is a tough situation for the Bears:
“The hardest position to sink long-term money into is running back because it has the shortest shelf life,” Brandt told the Philadelphia Daily News. “There’s a graveyard of bad contracts that were given to running backs over a certain age going back to Eddie George, Corey Dillon, Jamal Anderson and Shaun Alexander.”
Besides those bad deals, consider that Chris Johnson had a down year coming off his new contract while Adrian Peterson suffered a season ending knee injury and you can see why the Bears are reluctant to “pay Forte” the huge money.
It seems like the bar for a deal is set and it’s just a matter of whether or not the Bears want to pay about $20 million in guaranteed money and if Forte and his agent Adisa Bakari think he’s worth more.
What do you think? Can the Bears and Forte come to an agreement? Is Forte worth the $20 guaranteed? More? Less? How do you rank him among the running backs that just got new deals?