The deal came this afternoon roughly three hours before the deadline to reach long-term deals with players.
The franchise tag would have paid Forte $7.74 million for the season.
Persistence with the organization and Forte’s agent Adisa Bakari helped this deal happen.
Forte was considering a holdout from training camp, but over this past week leading up to the deadline, optimism was in the air.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen believed they would reach a deal. Forte was hoping it would happen. The Bears were quietly putting together a contract offer that made sense for both sides.
It’s a relief to everyone involved that this has been resolved. Contracts are open in this day and age in professional sports—especially in football, considering it’s all about guaranteed money.
So, here we are on Monday, July 16, and the Bears have finally resolved the Forte contract issues.
It has been a hot topic in the NFL since the 2011 season.
The contract runs through the 2015 season and pushes Forte’s 2011 salary of $600,000 to $8 million in 2012.
Bears new GM Phil Emery has done a good job so far of taking care of his players and adding some nice pieces to the puzzle.
Forte has over 900 rushing yards and 400 receiving in each of his four seasons in the league, making him the first player in NFL history to accomplish that feat.
It was vital to extend Forte’s contract just for the sake of the team. Distractions are bad, and the Bears have dealt with too many in the past.
The running back position is definitely an area of strength for the Bears this season. The pairing of Forte with Michael Bush could be very dangerous. Also, Kahlil Bell is a dangerous weapon out of the backfield.
In 60 games in his career, the former second-round pick out of Tulane has rushed 1,104 times for 4,233 yards (4.2 YPC) and 21 touchdowns. He has also brought in 223 receptions for 1,985 yards (8.9 YPR) and eight touchdowns.
Forte has been the focal point since arriving to the team in 2008 because of the lack of talent within the Bears’ receiving core.
With the addition of WR Brandon Marshall and RB Michael Bush, this team could take it to the next level with their offense.
Watch out for the 2012 Bears.