9:41 AM CDT, November 3, 2011
You know who wants the Bears to sign Matt Forte to a big-money, long-term contract?
The Packers, that’s who.
And the Lions and Vikings and, well, you get the idea.
But Bears fans who want the team to fork over $40 million or $50 million for Forte are nuts.
The Bears don’t have to. The Bears won’t have to for several years. The Bears could improve some awful areas of the team with that money.
Jerry Angelo’s Bears have done enough dumb things through the years. Angelo’s Bears will continue to make mistakes.
But this time, Angelo has it right. Angelo is playing it smart. Maybe that’s why some Bears fans are so mad and have started a website to get Forte paid: They’re not used to seeing Angelo do things right.
It couldn’t be simpler: The Bears have Forte under contract for this season and can use the franchise tag to retain him the next two seasons.
I realize that Forte is having a season that ranks historically among the best in terms of combined rushing and receiving yardage. I also understand that’s his job. He’s getting paid $600,000 to do that job. He agreed to do that job for that amount of money when he signed that contract.
You can sympathize with the classy Forte as he argues for a longer, richer deal. He has made his case in an adult manner. I suppose you also could side with Lance Briggs if whining and carping is your thing.
But do yourself a favor and stay off the side of stupid when the argument turns to career-ending injuries. The dumbest part of that reasoning is acting as if the game suddenly changed. Like it was flag football or two-hand touch until the NFL sprang tackle football on everybody this September.
Nope, sorry, it has always been that way. In fact, it used to be worse. It wasn’t that long ago when players could form-tackle and not get fined or ejected.
Which means it has always been dangerous.
Which means a player’s career always could end on any play.
Which is why players always get signing bonuses, like Briggs and Forte did.
Forte’s salary is paltry compared to Chris Johnson’s new six-year deal that averages almost $10 million, and Johnson’s miserable season is exactly why smart teams don’t give long-term contracts to running backs, according to former Super Bowl-winning Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson.
Jimmy Johnson doesn’t believe elite running backs stay elite very long for a painful storm of reasons: a lot of carries, a lot of abuse, substandard offensive lines, few elite quarterbacks. They stand a great chance of getting injured, and even if they don’t, they will go downhill and go downhill fast. Jimmy Johnson wrote that he’d rather find another running back than give one a big contract.
The Bears, then, are doing it the right way. The smart way. There’s a spasm of championship thinking going on at Halas Hall regarding spending money wisely, and some fans are mad about it?
Wake up, Bears fans: Wouldn’t you rather Angelo channel his inner Jimmy Johnson than his inner Jim Hendry?
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