The Chicago Bears and running back Matt Forte have not yet come to a contractual agreement for the 2012 season and now sources say the team will use the "franchise" tag on their star running back should contract negotiations fail.
Under the NFL franchise player tag Forte would be paid the average salary of the top five 2011 running back salaries, a number that is expected to fall from $9.45 million this season to $7.71 million for the 2012 roster.
Forte and Bears general manager Jerry Angelo failed to reach an agreement during the preseason and the GM said talks would be tabled until after the 2011 season draws to a close.
According to ESPNChicago.com the best offer made to the running back thus far includes an offer that maxed out at $13 to $14 million with guarantees.
Making an appearance on Rome is Burning last week Forte said the franchise player tag would make him feel undervalued:
"That's not something I'm looking forward to," he said, while adding, "I don't want a one-year deal. I want a long-term extension. I think if they use the franchise tag that's kind of a cheap way to go out. That's not what I'm looking forward to. I want a long-term extension. I've been drafted by Chicago. I want to stay there so it's not something I'm looking forward to."It would be foolish of the Bears to not reach an agreement with their star RB who is leading the NFL this season with 1,091 yards from scrimmage in just seven games, the fastest time a player has reached that milestone since 2004.
Do you believe the Chicago Bears should act quickly to offer Forte a deal that will keep him happy and playing in Chicago over the long-term?