The Chicago Bears signed running back Michael Bush to a four-year deal on Thursday, and Matt Forte didn't exactly like the move by the Bears. Forte has received the franchise tag designation from the Bears while GM Phil Emery and Adisa Bakari (his agent) try to find common ground for a long-term extension, but the lengthy impasse in negotiation and the addition of Bush led Forte to speak out on Twitter: "there's only so many times a man that has done everything he's been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last."
Forte backtracked from there, saying he is "not mad at the signing of another running back," but rather that he takes issue with the Bears "undervaluing" him. Jim Trotter of SI.com weighed in on the situation on Friday, and he said if it's true that Forte wants $20M in guarantees, it's time for the Bears to stop telling Forte how valuable he is and show him instead.
Trotter broke down what he considers the reality of the contract dispute between the Bears and Forte like this:
Here's the reality: The Bears have the leverage and know it. There's virtually no chance Forte will sit out the season and pass up a one-year salary that's almost double what he made in his first four seasons combined. Still, they have to be careful about developing a reputation for not taking care of their own players, especially when those players are leaders who've outperformed their contracts.
The truth is that the sides need each other. Forte wants to remain in Chicago, and the Bears won't be nearly as imposing without him. Bush is a solid back, but he has never had to carry the load. When he did assume starting duties for the Raiders over the second half of last season, after Darren McFadden was lost for the year with a foot injury, he averaged fewer than 3.6 yards per carry in six of the final seven games, had just one carry longer than 15 yards and totaled three rushing scores.
With Michael Bush on board for the long-term, the Bears now have adequate protection against a holdout by Forte, so it seems they have gained even more leverage heading into the 2012 NFL Draft.
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