Matt Forte’s future in Chicago is speckled with question marks, but one possibility that can be ruled out is free agency. Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips said Tuesday that he will not allow the running back to test the free agent waters.
Phillips also expressed his desire to sign the Pro Bowler to a long-term contract in an interview on ESPN 1000. However, he did not eliminate the option of utilizing the franchise tag.
General manager Phil Emery will sit down with Matt Forte to discuss the team’s plans for him before the February 20 franchise tag date, according to Phillips. Forte is not fond of the idea of being franchised, though. He has discussed the possibility of holding out if the tag is placed on him.
In January, Forte voiced his displeasure on ESPN 1000 saying, “I wouldn’t say holdout, but people probably wouldn’t know where I was.”
Matt, we Bears fans want to know where you are…at all times during the season. Please. You belong on the field, blowing through defenders, carrying the offense, being a Pro Bowl caliber running back. Where you don’t belong is sitting on your couch on Sundays, fuming because the Bears dissatisfied you.
Chicago simply cannot afford to lose the talent embodied by Forte. The Bears need to give the man what he wants. As fans proclaimed throughout the 2011 season, “pay the man.”