Earlier Monday we listed the franchise-tagged players most likely to receive a contract extension before Monday's 4 p.m. ET negotiation deadline. Matt Forte topped that list, and with good reason: the Bears running back agreed to a four-year deal, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora confirms.
Sean Jenson of the Chicago Sun-Times reported the deal first. CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms reports that the deal is worth approximately $8 million a year.
"We're very pleased that we were able to come to terms on a four-year extension with Matt," Bears GM Phil Emery said. "We're excited to get him on the field and continue working towards our goal of winning a championship."
Over the weekend, a report emerged that Forte and the Bears were "extremely close" to getting a deal done. That push clearly helped get a deal done.
"I'm proud to be a Chicago Bear and excited to be here for another four years," Forte said. "I'd like to thank my family, my agent and the Chicago Bears. I've been working hard this offseason and am looking forward to joining my teammates at training camp next week. I'm glad the business part is done and we can all turn our attention to football and our goal of winning a championship."
Earlier this offseason, we saw a number of contracts to big-name running backs. The Eagles gave LeSean McCoy a five-year deal worth a reported $45 million. Arian Foster also signed a five-year deal worth $43.5 million with the Texans this offseason. And Marshawn Lynch signed a four-year deal worth $31 million.
So, depending on how much guaranteed money Forte got, he may ultimately be slotted correctly in terms of the contract. He's worth more than Lynch (in my opinion) but clearly isn't as good as McCoy or Foster, regardless of how much of the Bears offense ran through him.
Additionally, Forte was operating from a standpoint that lacked serious leverage: he had been tendered by the Bears, he's got injury history (recent injury history no less), and Chicago inked Michael Bush this offseason in order to protect themselves from possibly missing Forte for any length of time.