Chicago Tribune Bears beat writer Brad Biggs noted on Twitter Monday the official deadline was set for the team and running back Matt Forte to come to an agreement on a multi-year extension.
Biggs wrote in his tweet that the deadline is set for July 16 at 3 p.m., which gives both sides a month to get something done.
Whether or not both sides can come to an agreement will no doubt be determined in the next few weeks.
Forte is holding out for a new contract after being franchise tagged during this offseason. The tag would be $7.7 million, if no contract extension is agreed to. Forte held out during the Bears mini-camp last week.
With Forte out of the picture at last week’s mini-camps, a couple of running backs have taken an opportunity to really impress the organization. Many on the team have been impressed with new running back acquisition Michael Bush, including starting quarterback Jay Cutler.
Whether Bush will compete with Forte for the starting job or not remains to be seen. However, if Forte holds out during training camp, it certainly doesn’t hurt Bush’s chances of fighting for an opportunity.
And that is not to suggest Bush will be the starter for week one. Forte still could be starting at that point. But Bush has a chance to make an impression on head coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Tice. That said, the Forte contract clock is ticking and we’ll certainly see if a deal gets done between now and July 16.