Things are heating up between Matt Forte and the Chicago Bears, but not in a good way. At this point, you’d figure that the market would be set and the two sides could come together to work out a long-term deal. Instead, the situation appears to be as contentious as it’s every been.
On Saturday, the Chicago Tribune reported that the Bears may be reluctant to sign Forte to a big contract because there’s concern if his knees will hold up.
A major sticking point could stem from the Bears’ worry over how long Forte’s knees will hold up, a source suggested to the Tribune. The wear and tear on Forte’s knees drew the attention of several teams, including the Bears, before the 2008 NFL draft when he came out of Tulane.
According to the source, given Forte’s past the Bears cannot rule out arthritis setting in and becoming a chronic problem for the fifth-year running back with 1,237 career NFL touches who turns 27 in December. In the NFL, data show running backs start declining after age 28.
Alrighty then… Not good news for Forte, especially since he’s turning 27 before season’s end and the Bears control his rights through next season if they choose to tag him again.
Of course, news of the Bears’ concern made it’s way around the interwebs and NFL.com picked it up, leading to this tweet.
Bears reportedly concerned with Matt Forte’s knees: nfl.com/news/story/090…
— NFL (@nfl) May 26, 2012
Upon seeing that, Forte posted the following twitvid while retweeting the NFL’s tweet:
Clearly Forte isn’t happy with how the negotiations are going and this latest info about his potentially arthritic knees. As Haugh points out in his article, Forte has had issues with both knees as he rehabs from a season ending injury that he suffered late last season. That doesn’t help his case and neither does the video he tweeted. Just because he can pull a 100 lb. sled up a hill doesn’t mean he’s worth $20 million guaranteed.
I don’t think that Forte will miss the season because he’d be a fool to leave $7.7 million on the table but the more this goes on, the more I think that Forte’s days with the Bears are numbered and no long term deal is coming.
What do you think? Can a deal get done? Whose side are you on, Forte’s or the Bears’? If (and it’s a big if) Forte sits, do the Bears have enough offensive firepower to get by without him?