Matt Forte's contract holdout is about the only thing not to like about the Chicago Bears right now. Unfortunately, it's also the only thing getting much attention.
Forte's situation vaulted into the national conversation when the running back emerged as one of the best players at his position before a knee injury ended his breakout season last year a few weeks shy of completion. While Forte and Bears have been at odds now for over a year, there still hasn't been much of any progress made. This is two stubborn sides sticking their heals in the ground, holding to their turf.
On Tuesday, Forte missed his first mandatory team exercise as the Bears opened minicamp at Halas Hall.
It's not like this wasn't expected. The Bears stuck the franchise tag on Forte earlier this offseason, guaranteeing him $7.74 million on a one-year deal once he signs it. Problem is, the runner wants a long-term deal with around $20 million guaranteed, similar to what LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles signed for recently. The Bears are believed to be offering closer to $14 million.
Here's what coach Lovie Smith said about the situation:
"It's not an issue for me and it can't be."
"During the course of the year you have guys who aren't here for whatever reason," Smith continued. "You coach the guys who can go, who can practice. We've been spending all our time with that. I know Matt Forte. I'm sure he's getting ready to go. But in the meantime, the best thing we can do for the Chicago Bears is just keep this train going, which we've done."
Stay tuned to SB Nation Chicago for more information, and for in-depth analysis on the Chicago Bears, be sure to visit Windy City Gridiron. And drop by SB Nation NFL for more news and notes from around the league.