Franchise Tag Window Open for Bears and Forte


Matt Forte is pretty good and evading would-be tacklers, but he may not be able to duck the hit that’s coming his way in the next 2 weeks from the Chicago Bears.  The Franchise Tag window opened on Monday and extends through March 5th.  If the Bears can’t work out a deal with Forte in the meantime, he will get the old Franchise Tag slapped on him.

I’m not sure if the Bears send Forte a big tag, like one of those big Publisher’s Clearinghouse fake checks or if it’s just an e-mail or what, but Matt Forte can expect that Tag heading his way sooner rather than later.

With the tag comes a guaranteed 1-year deal worth an estimated $7.7 million.  That’s a a sizable raise from the $550,000 or so that Forte earned in 2011 but it’s far from the guaranteed money he’s seeking.

The Bears supposedly offered in the neighborhood of $13-$14 million in up-front money to Forte during contract negotiations last season and he turned it down while seeking a more lucrative deal.

It’s unclear how new Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery will handle this negotition, but my guess is that this is above his pay grade.  This decision will come down from sweaty Teddy and George McCaskey.  It’s unlikely that there will be a major shift from either side in the next couple of weeks that would lock Forte into a longer-term deal.

Stay tuned for more details on the Forte contract situation and any other Franchise Tag news that could impact the Bears and their Free Agent shopping, which opens on March 13th.