Three possible outcomes to the Forte contract situation

766610.png

Three possible outcomes to the Forte contract situation

The ripples from DeSean Jacksons five-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, calling for 45 million and guaranteeing almost 21 million of it, may indeed come west as far as Chicago. But whether they reach as far as Matt Forte is still far from clear.

It can go one of three ways:

Situation unchanged

The Bears have the franchise tag in place and Forte is guaranteed 7.7 million when if he signs it. They hold the ace of trump here, just as the Baltimore Ravens do with running back Ray Rice, and they are within their collectively bargained rights to use the option accorded them.

Working in the Bears favor is what just transpired in New England, where All-Pro receiver Wes Welker just signed his franchise-tag tender offer for the one-year 9.5 million.

The notable element here is that players typically dont mind the tag as long as they view the situation as moving toward a long-term deal. Even Forte was of that mind.

Welker signed the tender, however, not because a deal was imminent, but just the opposite--that talks were getting worse.

He wasnt going to pass on the offseason sessions and wasnt seeing anything that said the team was coming his way financially.

His teammate, guard Logan Mankins, told CSNChicago.com during Super Bowl week that he signed his franchise-tag tender generally for a related reason He didnt see the Patriots moving and getting something done with him and he simply said the amount of the tag money was too big for him to just dig in his heels and hold out.

Forte will be 27 this season. Realistically, the Bears will not tag him for a second year in 2013 (which they can do). He, like Mankins and Welker, may just realize the other side just isnt going to do a deal and take the money and keep running since he has no choice and wont pass on 460,000 per game.

Pay the man

This is the complicated one. The Bears put what they considered a market deal on the table at the outset of training camp last year and they increased it.

Fortes side points to other deals as being the true market value, plus or minus depending on where Forte is valued vs. other top backs.

Brad Biggs over at the Tribune lays out some of the realities involving other contracts for running backs, which ostensibly do set some sort of market for top backs as being with some 20 million in guaranteed money. The Bears havent offered Forte that much and, with 14 million committed to a Michael Bush contract, its no given that they will.

Bears GM Phil Emery and finance man Cliff Stein are evaluating the teams position. They wont cave to public opinion this is business, not a plebiscite.

Split the difference

The best business deals are usually ones in which both sides walk away from the table a little grumpy. Its somewhere between a win-win and lose-lose, which is preferable from someone going away humiliated and beaten and the other fist-pumping at the win.

The question here is how long Forte projects to be performing at the elite level he has achieved. A five-year deal like McCoys works for the Eagles because McCoy is 23 and the team has the five years over which to amortize the money.

The Bears could pose to Forte that his window is not quite what McCoys is, meaning that their paying a 20 million guarantee isnt quite the same on a four-year deal as on a five.

So the Bears are at 14 million guaranteed. Forte wants, say, 20 million. In the middle, conveniently, is 17 million more than the Bears really have to pay and less than Forte probably would command on a truly open market.

The middle ground may be looking better and better to both.

SportsTalk Live: David DeJesus discusses time spent with Joe Maddon, World Series criticism

SportsTalk Live: David DeJesus discusses time spent with Joe Maddon, World Series criticism

"Be sexy."

That was one of two rules manager Joe Maddon told David DeJesus when the Tampa Bay Rays acquired him in 2013.

DeJesus appeared on SportsTalk Live on Wednesday to discuss his time spent with Maddon in Tampa Bay.

"Just be yourself out there," DeJesus said of Maddon when the Rays traded for him. "I want you to have fun and I want you to just have that ora of 'just don't worry, just go out there and play.' It kept the whole team loose."

DeJesus also shared his thoughts on Maddon's questionable managerial decisions in the World Series.

Hear that, and more, in the video above.

Between Cubs' victory lap and Hall of Fame vote, Sammy Sosa barely staying in the picture

Between Cubs' victory lap and Hall of Fame vote, Sammy Sosa barely staying in the picture

Sammy Sosa has stayed so far off the radar that his long-running absence from Cubs Convention didn't even come up during last weekend's Q&A session with ownership.

And the Cubs can't go viral all the time and dominate every offseason news cycle, with the National Baseball Hall of Fame revealing the election results on Wednesday and welcoming Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez as part of its 2017 class.

But it's become out of sight, out of mind for Sosa, who barely crossed the 5-percent threshold (8.6) needed to remain on the Baseball Writers' Association of America ballot for another year.

Sosa — a seven-time All Star, 1998 National League MVP and the franchise's all-time leader with 545 home runs (and 609 overall) — hadn't gained any traction at all during his first four years under BBWAA consideration, hovering between 12.5 and 6.6 percent.

It's complicated with Sosa, a diva personality who experienced a dramatic late-career renaissance and got named in a New York Times report that exposed him as one of the players who tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug in 2003 (during what was supposed to be an anonymous survey).

The Cubs have undergone a complete makeover since Sosa walked out in 2004, leaving him without many allies in the organization. It's nothing personal, but in the past the Ricketts family has hinted that Sosa could mend certain fences and fill in some of the blanks he once left open during an unconvincing performance in front of Congress.

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

The Cubs brought Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg to meet President Barack Obama during their Martin Luther King Jr. Day visit to the White House and keep adding former players to the front office. It's awkward after a World Series run where so many alumni showed up to do TV work, throw first pitches, spray champagne or simply watch a rare playoff game at Wrigley Field.

— If Sosa's looking for a roadmap, Manny Ramirez did his penance and cooperated with Major League Baseball to the point where Cubs president Theo Epstein shockingly hired him as a Triple-A Iowa player/coach in the middle of the 2014 season, something that would have been unthinkable during their clashes with the Boston Red Sox.

As a hitting consultant, Ramirez took a come-and-go-as-you-please arrangement, becoming a national story during the 2015 playoffs but largely staying away from the 2016 championship team, perhaps gearing up for his independent-ball comeback in Japan this year. Even after failing multiple drug tests, one of the greatest right-handed hitters of his generation still finished at 23.8 percent in his first year on the BBWAA ballot.

— Lee Smith (34.2 percent) — a drafted-and-developed Cub and the franchise's all-time leader with 180 saves — didn't come close in his 15th and final time on the BBWAA ballot. Smith had been grandfathered when the Hall of Fame narrowed the eligibility window to 10 years, possibly trying to squeeze Steroid Era symbols like Roger Clemens (54.1 percent) and Barry Bonds (53.8 percent).

— This will make Cub fans feel old: Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano are Hall of Fame-eligible for the first time in 2018, when based off this year's returns Trevor Hoffman (74) and Vladimir Guerrero (71.7) should be building momentum toward the 75 percent needed for induction into Cooperstown.