Forte doesn't think Angelo lied about contract

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Forte doesn't think Angelo lied about contract

Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011
Posted: 1:18 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
At the outset of training camp, Bears GM Jerry Angelo expressed optimism about getting a new deal done with running back Matt Forte, who said he took Angelo at his word that real work would be done to make a new contract happen.

As camp went on, the optimism faded. The Bears put an offer on the table that topped that of Kansas City Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, with more than 10 million in guaranteed money but it was deemed not sufficient by the Forte camp.

But as far as Angelos early comments that Forte was a priority, I dont think he lied about that, Forte said. We tried to get a deal done. I guess maybe they have a different view of the type of player I am than I think I am.

Forte clearly expected to be under a long-term deal by this time. Now the official line is that no negotiations will happen until post-2011 season.

Im a little surprised and disappointed that it wasnt done, Forte admitted. Coming into the league you feel that its supposed to be production-based, and when you produce, you expect the team or the organization to actually notice that, compared to other guys. We just couldnt meet in the middle, I guess.

Scheduling idea

The Bears opening with three playoff teams (Atlanta, New Orleans, Green Bay) seems at first like a schedule-makers vendetta. After all, the schedule does include some first-year coaches and teams coming off bad years and lost offseasons. The Bears couldve drawn the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders or Denver Broncos, all with coaches in their first full years with their teams or first years as head coaches, period.

But the Bears dont look at that way. Last year they had the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins all teams that finished with losing 2010 records and they barely got out of that stretch with a winning (4-3) record.

Besides, I mean, theres no Division-2 schools, quarterback Jay Cutler said Wednesday. We dont have a lot of options, so we got to take what it is. We got Atlanta, and we have to deal with it.

Moneyball?

Jason LaCanfora at NFL Network reports that safety Brandon Meriweather is being paid 3.25 million, which is a lot for a backup, which no one expects him to be for long. But the Bears did give center Chris Spencer a two-year deal worth 6 million, an indication that the Bears regard him as starter-grade and likely will be at some point.

But the market sets the price ultimately, and to the Bears credit, Meriweather is listed behind Major Wright on the depth chart released Tuesday. The two could switch places and Meriweather start, however, if Wednesday and Thursday practices dont go well for Wright.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Good or better? Why offseason moves are making 2017 Bears better

Improvement typically comes in incremental steps, not leaps. And the Bears of 2017, based on what they have done at a handful of positions, the latest being Thursday’s signing of wide receiver Victor Cruz, fit that template.

The clear organizational commitment is to build through the draft, even if injuries have undermined some otherwise apparent upgrades to starting lineups on both sides of the football. But if there is a “theme” to what GM Ryan Pace is doing to muscle up a sluggish roster, it is that the Bears are willing to take flyers on veteran players – with additions like four veteran wide receivers with injury and issue histories – that arguably point to a win-now mindset while draft picks develop and contribute.

Jaye Howard and John Jenkins. Make the defensive line “better?” Than Jonathan Bullard and Will Sutton, probably. But “good?” Mmmmm…..

The game-one tight ends last year were Zach Miller-Logan Paulsen-Gregg Scruggs. Now they’re Miller-Dion Sims-Adam Shaheen (based on a second-round draft choice). “Good?” Maybe, maybe not. “Better?” Obviously, based on Sims alone.

Mike Glennon-Mark Sanchez-Mitch Trubisky. Bears “better” at quarterback? Than Jay Cutler-Brian Hoyer-Matt Barkley, probably. “Good?” Mmmmmm…..

The decisions to sign Glennon and Sanchez to the quarterback depth chart have sparked their shares of understandable cynical skepticism. But Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo were not available in trade, so the Pace decision was to gamble on upside with Glennon over the known quantity of Brian Hoyer (the preference of some coaches) and certainly Jay Cutler, for whom “potential” and “upside” no longer applied.

Add in the aggressive draft of Trubisky and the result was three possibilities of hits on a quarterback (Sanchez and Connor Shaw being combined here as a pair entry in the hit-possibility scenarios). All three were deemed an improvement over Cutler and/or Barkley.

The results may not vault the Bears all the way up to “good” at the pivotal position for any franchise. But “better” is sometimes all you can realistically manage.

Taking a wider-screen look at wide receiver in this context… .

Coach John Fox has cited the need for the Bears to establish the ability to get yardage in bigger chunks. Accordingly, all four of the veteran wideout signings this offseason – Cruz, Rueben Randle, Markus Wheaton, Kendall Wright –  have posted yards-per-catch seasons of 14 or longer.

All four won’t be on the opening-day roster, but all four offer the promise of major impact. Cruz, Randle and Wright have had seasons of 70 or more receptions, and Wheaton topped out at 53 in 2015 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Jerry Rice weren’t available, so “good” was hard to achieve in an offseason in which Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal were expected departures long before their exits. But are Cruz, Randle, Wheaton and Wright, with Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, a “better” starting point than Jeffery, Royal, White, Bellamy, etc. of a year ago?

Obviously. But players with even moderately established NFL “names” (like Cruz, Randle, etal.) are typically available for a reason; teams do not routinely give up on talent. And none of the four come without significant shadows on their NFL resumes, whether for injury or other questions.

Cruz missed most of 2014 and all of the 2015 season, and hasn’t played a full season since his Pro Bowl year of 2012.

Randle was described as a head case by scouts and was so bad that he was let go in the Eagles’ cutdown to 75 last year, followed by disparaging comments from those in and around the organization.

Wheaton flashed promise in his 2014-15 opportunities as a part-time starter but played just three games before a shoulder injury landed him on IR last season.

The Tennessee Titans thought enough of Wright, their 2012 first-round draft choice, to pick up his fifth-year option going into las season. But by week 14 he was benched for tardiness and was a healthy DNP in game 16, announcing after the game that he already knew he was not in the Titans’ plans for 2017.

The prospect of the Bears going from 3-13 to “good” borders on fantasy. But if being among the NFL’s busiest this offseason hasn’t propelled the Bears to that level, the results point to “better.” At this point, that’s something,.

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

How big of an impact will Victor Cruz have on the Bears?

The Bears inked Victor Cruz to a one-year deal on Thursday, adding another receiver to an already crowded corps.

But it never hurts to add a veteran one to a young group, especially with a new starting quarterback.

Cruz is 30 years old and isn't the same Pro Bowl-caliber player he was before missing the entire 2015 season with a calf injury, but he surely has a lot left in the tank and can serve as a great mentor for the Bears receivers.

Just how big of an impact will he have on his new team? See what the SportsTalk Live panel had to say in the video above.