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For Matt Forte, Respect Spelled R-E-$-P-E-C-T

Matt Forte doesn’t want to be the highest paid running back in the league; he claims he just wants respect.  I guess in the NFL, as with many other professional sports, respect is not measured by trophies or accolades, it’s measured by the number of zeros on your paycheck.  From the athlete’s point of view, respect is spelled R-E-$-P-E-C-T.

After Forte was named #33 in the NFL’s Top 100 of 2012, he went on to the Reaction show and discussed more about his contract status.  Here’s a segment of his conversation, as re-broadcast by CSNChicago:

 

Forte was ranked the 33rd best player in the NFL.  Those rankings are created by players; his contemporaries, to determine the order.  Is that not respect?  Forte was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season, despite missing the last 4 games his a bum knee.  Isn’t that a sign of respect?  And like it or hate it, the Bears put the Franchise Tag on Forte, meaning they think he’s worth the average salary of the top 5 RB’s in the league.

There were 15 running backs named in the NFL’s Top 100 of 2012.  Forte finished right smack in the middle of the pack, with 8 guys finishing behind him and another 6 guys in front of him.  As for the guys behind him, here’s the list:

100 – Chris Johnson
98 – Willis McGahee
94 – Marshawn Lynch
88 – Michael Turner
86 – Darren Sproles
83 – Fred Jackson
60 – Darren McFadden
37 – Steven Jackson

Just off the top of my head, my projections for the six RB’s who will finish ahead of Forte, here’s my list (in no particular order): Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Shady McCoy, Ray Rice, MJD and probably Frank Gore.  I’m least sure about Gore, but if you go by the stats, Gore’s 2011 totals put him in that range.

Let’s get this all straight.  Forte wants to be paid among the league’s best running backs, but when the list of the top runner backs comes out, he’s ranked 7th by his peers.  Of the Top 100 players for 2012, there are 15 running backs on the list and Forte is #7 among them.  And let’s consider that Chris Johnson had a horrible year by his standards and Jamaal Charles missed virtually the whole season with a knee injury.  Where does that really leave Matt?  Right about where he is, in the middle of the pack.

Let’s see how Forte ranks among those top RB’s and their salaries.  For the sake of simplicity, I’ve used Sportac’s

I’ve already gone on record saying that the DeAnglo Williams deal was a joke.  Besides that, Forte with his $7.7 million is about right where he should be.  In fact, if you consider there are 6 guys ranked above him and a few of them are behind Forte on the salary rankings, that seems like it’s a fair annual compensation besides the big sticking point, the long term deal and amount of guaranteed money.

What kind of deal would you put in front of Forte – years, guaranteed money and average annual salary?  What is he worth?  What is really fair?

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