A new twist in the Forte contract standoff

A new twist in the Forte contract standoff
May 29, 2012, 2:04 pm
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The past few days have seen no movement on Matt Forte and the Bears getting together, either on a signed franchise tender or long-term contract. But that hasnt stopped a rhetoric surge.

First was former Tribune colleague David Haugh positing that the Bears are concerned about Matt Fortes knees, the cumulative result of one injury during his Tulane career and two with the Bears.

The problem with that track is that the Bears didnt drop their offer to Forte from the level they bumped it to during last season, even after he went down in the Kansas City game. Whether he should have played in the Pro Bowl is another matter but as a marketing strategy, Forte clearly allayed concerns about his recovery.

It didnt make him any younger, however, and thats always been the rub, along with the simple fact that the Bears dont have to take their offer up any higher, given their franchise-tag option.

What raising the knee issue does do, though, is undercut Forte in the publics mind and likely quiet some of the pay-the-man calls.

Agent Adisa Bakari denounced the knee concerns in comments to the Sun-Times, and because the Bears are still offering a multi-year deal to their Pro Bowl tailback, his point is well taken.

One likelihood through all of this, according to one NFC personnel executive, is that if the Bears and Forte do not reach a long-term deal this year, he very likely will be in his last Chicago season, because the Bears are not expected to invest a second, higher franchise tag on him in 2013.

And at a year older, Forte will like the next longer-term offer even less than the one he has in front of him now.