The ongoing contract negotiations between the Chicago Bears and running back Matt Forte have been well documented.
After failing to get an extension done last year, the Bears slapped a $7.7 million franchise tag on Forte this offseason. Forte has made it clear he wants a long-term deal. The two sides have been negotiating for more than a year to make that happen, yet progress has been snail slow.
Today though, it appears the two sides are inching nearer to an agreement. Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports there has been "considerable progress" toward a long-term contract.
RB Matt Forte
From the article:
"League sources said there has been considerable progress between the Bears and Matt Forte as well. There are still issues to hash out regarding the average per year on the deal over the first three years, and how it could compare to say Marshawn Lynch's new deal, but there has been movement on what the deal might look like over five years."
Lynch signed a four-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks this offseason worth $31 million, with $18 million guaranteed. Forte is younger than Lynch and has been more productive over the past four seasons, so it's likely he won't accept less than Lynch's $18 million guaranteed.
Forte recently compared his value to that of running backs LeSean McCoy and Arian Foster, both of whom recently received long-term deals. Foster signed a five-year deal with the Texans worth $43.5 million, with $20.75 guaranteed, while McCoy signed a five-year deal with the Eagles worth $45 million, with $20.76 guaranteed.
The deadline for franchised players to sign their franchise tag is this upcoming Monday, July 16, giving the Bears and Forte just three days to hash out a new deal. If no agreement can be reached, Forte will either have to sign his franchise tender or officially begin his holdout.
Chicago begins training camp in less than two weeks and the club would like to have its Pro Bowl running back on the practice fields from Day 1. We'll see if management can make that a reality.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.