Contract Evaluation: Matt Forte

Contract Evaluation: Matt Forte
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Contact Evaluation: Matt Forte

Evaluating the new contract in comparison to Spotrac's previous prediction.

The Chicago Bears and Matt Forte reached an agreement on a long-term deal just hours leading up to the deadline for franchise-tagged players to do so, coming to terms on a 4 year $32 million extension. The deal replaces a $7.74 million tender previously offered to the star running back.

Spotrac recently published a prediction for the prospective deal, using statistical values over his career, and his previous 2 seasons in comparison to running backs of his stature who recently signed deals. The numbers on paper revealed a linear regression that placed Forte on a path to receive 4 years, and close to $31 million in total value. But after comparing the differences in games played, current statistical prime, and roster factors we determined that the Bears were better served to offer Forte a contract with a value closer to $26 million.

While it might seem chippy to discount Forte for a recent injury, the fact of the matter is the lifeline on running backs in the current NFL is reducing every year, and he may never again reach the elite performance levels we saw from him in early 2011. In addition to the injury plague, the Bears made a statement in signing free agent running back Michael Bush away from the Oakland Raiders this offseason - with a 4 year $14 million deal. Bush may never be a true #1 back in this league, but he's certainly legitimate insurance in the instance that Forte were to become seriously injured again - or wouldn't re-sign with the Bears.

The timing of the deal (3 hours prior to the franchise tag deadline) hints that the Bears were most likely thinking along our lines. In assuming that the deal signed was a compromise of the two parties demands, it appears that Forte's camp was searching in the Arian Foster market (8+ million per year), and probably wanted 5 years (which our numbers did lend itself to. It's easy to assume the Bears would be reluctant to offer the 5th year, and were probably closer to the 7 million per year market with their offer. In the end, the $8 million per year average over 4 years does make sense, but does end up on the riskier side for the Bears, especially once the guaranteed money and full terms of this deal come forward.

Contract Evaluation: Forte (A), Bears (B)