The Chicago Bears and Matt Forte have been stuck at an impasse in discussions for a new long-term contract extension for about a year now. The Bears are thought to have offered around $13-14 million in guaranteed money before last season; Forte wants $20 million-plus. The two sides have made virtually zero progress for nearly 12 months.
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The Bears have all the leverage. They placed the franchise tag on Forte earlier this offseason, which the running back has yet to sign. And while Forte may want to more long-term security, the team is well within their right to stick the tag on Forte, which will pay him over $7 million next season. It's good business. Plus, for a player who made under $600,000 last season, it's not a bad piece of change.
But don't be fooled: the Bears have more than enough cap space to give Forte the lucrative extension he seeks. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune broke down the numbers on Monday.
After signing their six-man draft class, the Bears have $3.81 million in remaining cap space, according to an NFL source.
It is. Forte’s salary-cap figure of $7.742 million from the franchise tag is already factored into the club’s space even though he has yet to sign the one-year tender.
Chances are the Bears could sign Forte, 26, to a deal that would even lower that salary-cap figure from $7.742 million for 2012, meaning the surplus of $3.81 million would then grow by a little bit.
After the Philadelphia Eagles re-upped LeSean McCoy to a five-year extension with $20.8 million guaranteed, the Bears might face some renewed pressure to get a deal with Forte done. But I doubt it matters: the Bears are determined to make the smart business move, player be damned. I'm fine with the hardball stance, I suppose, but I wonder if it's worth pissing off one of your best players.
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