Mullin: Extension for Forte won't be easy

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Mullin: Extension for Forte won't be easy

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011
Posted: 11:28 p.m.

By JohnMullin
CSNChicago.com BearsInsider Follow@CSNMoonMullin
Moneyballin

The two-week performance by Matt Forte, 324 total yards between rushing, receiving and the yards-after-catch thing he does very well, has been the most productive two-game combo in Fortes career.

But not by much.

More amazing than the last two games is the fact that he has topped 130 total yards in each of the last six games. Counting backwards:

166 New Orleans (49 rushing, 117 receiving)

158 Atlanta (6890)

160 Green Bay, NFC Championship (7090)

134 Seattle, divisional playoff (8054)

151 Green Bay (9160)

169 N.Y. Jets (11358)

All of which says the meter is running as far as a contract extension. The guess here is that something will get done (Jerry Angelo and the Bears have lost only one player Bernard Berrian that they really wanted back).

But it wont be easy. Heres why:

First of all, the Bears never remotely denigrated Fortes value as a football player. They offered him a lot of money as far back as the outset of training camp. Thats not the issue.

The Bears will increase their offer, which already was more that a number of other top backs were getting, despite the Bears holding all leverage in the form of a contract in place and a franchise-tag-in-waiting.

But Forte and the Bears didnt get an extension resolved, not because the Bears are cheap or Forte is greedy, but because the two sides simply disagreed on value.

So while the Bears will up their offering because they recognized increased value, Fortes side will increase their lets-do-it point because they see precisely the same thing, that Forte is to the Bears what Marshall Faulk once was to Mike Martz and the St. Louis Rams. Put another way, the Bears could bump their offer up significantly and still be short, because the Forte side moved the goal posts.

And the waiting game will still continue until one side makes a big change. Right now, that doesnt look to be Forte anytime soon.
Just a thought
Judging from Lovie Smiths words and tone, the Bears offense will not be so pass-run lopsided for the foreseeable future. But Mike Martz probably had something to show his boss, a reason for firing passes all over Soldier Field:

The last two quarterbacks who faced the Green Bay Packers defense threw for 419 yards (Drew Brees) and 432 yards (Cam Newton) and their teams, respectively, scored 34 and 23 points on the Packers.

So, obviously, air it out against these Packer guys, the No. 2 scoring defense in the NFL for 2010?

Except that both of those 400-yard passers lost.

Tough enough for you?

Is everyone, including assorted NFL players, finally clear on Jay Cutlers toughness? If anyone is still chirping about the quarterback taking an injury out in the NFC Championship game, when hed been sacked just twice and the Bears had the ball on their 40 to start the third quarter, check out Sundays fourth quarter when hed been kicked in the throat, the Bears were down 30-13 and he was being sacked five times on the final four possessions.

Whether Cutler should even have been in the game at that point is another question. Cutlers toughness never should have been.

Cutler may be a fan of Mike Martzs offensive scheme and philosophy. But he was sacked just 11 times in his final season in Denver, in a supposedly confining West Coast scheme. He has been sacked 11 times in two games this year and 52 in 14-12 games last season.

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.