CHICAGO IL - JANUARY 23: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter of the NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field on January 23 2011 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Ted Phillips: Chicago Bears want long-term deal for Matt Forte - ESPN Chicago. Chicago Bears President Ted Phillips said that "We don't have any intention of letting Matt hit the open market" and this shouldn't surprise anyone.
The Bears aren't loaded with good young talent, and they should be keeping the ones that they've got. He's not an elite talent, Football Outsiders has him ranked as the 36th best RB in 2011, which is a few spots below Ryan Grant. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that the Bears aren't deep in offensive weapons, and defenses can focus on Forte without worrying too much about his teammates.
The Bears are going to overpay for him. The franchise tag on a running back should be somewhere between $8 to $10 million for 2012. While he's not going to be paid $100 million like Adrian Peterson, a long-term deal is going to involve some big numbers. And that's OK for the Bears, who really need to add more weapons on offense, and cannot afford to lose the ones they've already got.
But I remember reading some wishful thinking somewhere that the Green Bay Packers should pursue Forte. That was highly unlikely anyway because he's going to cost more than he's worth, and GM Ted Thompson hasn't shown much interest in other teams' free agents in the past couple years. But, in case anyone was wondering, Phillips has made it clear that Forte won't be playing for any other team next season except the Bears.