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.

Bears face decisions on Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery and 2017 roster

Bears face decisions on Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery and 2017 roster

What we "knew" most about the 2016 Bears heading into the season is that, offensively, Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery would be the straws that stirred the offensive drink. 

Thanks to injuries, suspension and a perfect storm that resulted in a 3-13 season, the straw had a hole in it, the team still couldn't collectively close out games and a fifth-round rookie (Jordan Howard) and a second-year undrafted free agent (Cam Meredith) turned into the greatest causes for optimism on that side of the ball. 

The news that the team is shopping Cutler is hardly news-bulletin worthy. We've written about Cutler Fatigue here and discussed it on CSN's BearsTalk Podcasts for some time now. A breakup has seemed inevitable after eight years of .500 ball when he's been behind center. The tricky part is finding an alternative that would be a marked improvement for a coaching staff that might need to finish .500 to continue on the job in 2018. Yet that's the gamble that must be taken for a franchise that almost needs to move on, for better or worse, in order to find a way out of the muddy ditch it's found itself in.

Cutler must first be deemed healthy enough after labrum surgery on his throwing shoulder - something similar to what Buffalo did with Tyron Taylor this week following groin surgery. But Taylor might be a safer bet to stay with the Bills than Cutler is here. Those medicals might be out there already around the league if shopping has truly begun. And while a new destination for Cutler might not earn him the same salary (roughly $15 million) he'd make here, the thinking here is he'd prefer a fresh start just as much as the Bears want one. 

So let's go shopping.

Cleveland? No. 

San Francisco as a stopgap starter? Maybe. There's tons of salary cap space while a successor is groomed, and there's the Shanahan (Kyle/Mike) Factor. But more losing. 

How about Jacksonville to push his young clone, Blake Bortles? Perhaps. There's still a loaded, talented young defense that has yet to reach a promising ceiling, and a couple of talented receivers. 

The Los Angeles Rams could provide a push for Jared Goff (though it's hard not to see Goff being the starter, for better or worse). But if something should happen, Cutler would be ready, with Todd Gurley, what should be a respectable defense and a location close to where wife Kristin Cavallari can return to actressing. 

Jay in Buffalo? Good one! 

Arizona has already shot down interest. 

We don't see Denver wanting him back as they await Paxton Lynch's maturity with Trevor Siemian as a bridge. 

Reuniting with Adam Gase in Miami could be an option with Ryan Tannehill's health still a mystery. 

Then there's always Houston. I'm looking for Tony Romo's ultimate destination impacting Jay's. 

But retiring, as some reports this week suggested? No. Despite the public perception, Jay is a competitor, and I truly believe that still runs through him. He may not get to prove his reputation wrong before he retires, but despite what body language experts feel, I believe he'd still like to prove something. But I'm also not counting on any team giving up a draft pick for him. Teams know the Bears will release him, but if a club lower on the waiver claim wire truly desires him, Ryan Pace has squeezed something out from teams for his players on the discard pile before.

As for Jeffery, all remains quiet on the franchise tag front. The seal remains tight at Halas Hall over whether there have been any negotiations this past week, and if so, whether they've moved in a positive, long-term direction. 

Two things to keep in mind: the Bears did not tag him last year until the day before the deadline to do so. That deadline this year is March 1. The other is the fact that other teams in similar situations (such as Washington with Kirk Cousins and Kansas City with Eric Berry and Dontari Poe) have yet to make moves either, as that deadline looms. If the Bears determine they'll cut ties with Cutler, Eddie Royal and Lamarr Houston, that will free up another $24 million in cap space on top of the $60 million-plus they have already. Perhaps that factors into the decision on Jeffery, who'd get paid $17 million in 2017 under a second straight franchise tag for a team that needs play-makers and a coaching staff that needs wins next season. Letting him go would require attention and a portion of those dollars to replace him in the draft and/or free agency.

We leave all our internet/talk radio caller GM's with this question: Would you REALLY want to be in Ryan Pace's shoes this offseason? Can you be as shrewd, wise and run the table to the extent he must, especially at the most important, franchise-shaping position (which, granted, he's put on the back-burner his first two years)? And "get it right" to build momentum moving forward for a franchise that's reached the playoffs just once in the past decade? The rebuild remains substantial. And so are the decisions he faces in a crucial offseason.

Jay Cutler is reportedly considering retirement

Jay Cutler is reportedly considering retirement

This is apparently the week of Jay Cutler news.

Reports surfaced earlier this week the Bears are pushing hard to find a trade partner for the enigmatic quarterback, though Ian Rapoport reported the organization informed Cutler in mid-January they were shopping him around.

It seems clear Cutler's time in Chicago has come to an end and an ensuing move is more of a formality at this point.

But apparently Cutler may not even suit up again...for ANY team.

Rapoport reported on NFL Network Wednesday night Cutler is mulling over retirement, even as he's healthy and working out now after shoulder surgery.

"There's no guarantee Cutler even plays in 2017, one of several veterans who are still considering whether they want to play or not play, retire, walk away. A lot of things at play here for Jay Cutler."

Host Dan Hellie immediately followed up, asking for clarification on the retirement part.

"It is a consideration; it's something he's confided in people," Rapoport said. "But Dan, I would say, it's not a surprise for quarterbacks this age. We've heard [Ben] Roethlisberger talk about it; we've heard Tony Romo talk about it. If it's not perfect, if he can't find the team he wants or the contract he wants, it's very easy for Jay Cutler to walk away."

Whoa.

Cutler, 33, has made more than $112 million in his 11-year career and is owed at least another $2 million in 2017, even if he's cut by the Bears.