I’ve been blessed with seven adorable nephews and nieces, each one with his or her own unique characteristics making them worthy of being given affectionate names a la Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
But the one thing that each one of them has had in common growing up is that when they didn’t get something they wanted, they’d cry, kick and scream, pout, shout, or otherwise do something to draw attention to themselves in a negative way with the hopes that someone will finally cave in and give them what they want.
Bears fans, meet the Eighth Dwarf: Whiny. He wears No. 22 for your beloved club and is more commonly known as Matt Forte.
I don’t even care if Forte is correct about how much he deserves to be paid — which he’s not, and I’ll explain why in a minute. The way he’s going about making a fuss to be paid, complaining in the media and taking to Twitterverse to prove a point, is juvenile and unprofessional.
I commend him for going out and playing last year on a one-year contract, risking a serious injury that could have cost him his career. He did, in fact, get hurt, but recovered in time to play in the Pro Bowl and should be 100 percent when the 2012 season kicks off.
If he shows up to play, that is.
Forte is considering using the only leverage he has at this point and that’s to hold out through training camp with the hopes that the Bears panic and raise their contract offer.
Fortunately, the Bears are taking steps to protect themselves against such a radical move from a desperate man by signing former Raiders running back Michael Bush on Thursday. The signing is thought to be more an upgrade at the backup position than as insurance should Forte hold out, but it can serve both purposes. The Bears might as well keep Marion Barber in the fold throughout the preseason just as they did last year with Chester Taylor, at least until they’re sure if Forte will report to camp and honor his one-year franchise contract.
Sure, the backfield of Forte, Bush, and Khalil Bell would be better than Bush, Barber, and Bell, but the latter of which isn’t too shabby. Besides, the Bears won’t be making a championship push with their backfield, anyway. If they are poised to make a playoff run, it’ll be because of Jay Cutler and new wide receiver Brandon Marshall more than anything else.
Forte didn’t take kindly to the news of Bush’s signing, first re-tweeting this on his Twitter account:
@gregolsen82 @espnchibears what’s three times now?” 3 yrs signing backups to solid $ and not pay @MattForte22
(this tweet is referencing the fact that the Bears have went out and paid big money to a backup running back three years in a row: Taylor in 2010, Barber in 2011, and now Bush in 2012)
Forte then re-tweeted this comment by former Bears tight end Greg Olsen:
“If u have a studd 3 down guy like @MattForte22 why keep paying backups big $ every yr? Crazy!! Matt deserves better”
As if it weren’t bad enough that Forte was trying to “rally the troops” in support of his cause, he posted this message:
“There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last….”
First of all, Matt, as Comcast SportsNet’s John ‘Moon’ Mullin correctly pointed out: The phrase you’re looking for is, “Nice guys finish last.”
Secondly, an organization that refuses to cave in to your demands and not overpay a running back whose value is at its all-time high is not disrespecting you. It’s called smart business.
If Forte doesn’t want to be in Chicago, if he’s more concerned with being paid more money than players like Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams and San Francisco’s Frank Gore, simply because Forte has outperformed them, then I don’t want that type of player wearing a Bears uniform.
Forte has reached his plateau. I’ll go out on a limb and say he’ll most likely never have a better season than he did this past year (on a per-game basis, that is. If he had been healthy the full season he would have put up record numbers).
So, why would the Bears, who have all the leverage in these contract negotiations and can franchise tag Forte next year, too, suddenly decide to give Forte what he’s demanding?
I think the best answer is to try to trade Forte. A running back in his prime coming off a Pro Bowl season can probably net the Bears a couple middle-round draft picks. A couple third-round picks, if they’re lucky, the same price they gave up for Marshall.
I would get rid of the unhappy camper and use any draft picks they collect to address other holes and start infusing the roster with younger talent on the defensive side of the ball.
Will the loss of Forte hurt the Bears? It’ll make the running back position a little less explosive, sure. But Bush has had some success as a receiver out of the backfield and Barber (if they decided to keep him in the event they trade Forte) is still a capable backup, at least for this one year. After all, let’s not forget that after Forte went down with an injury against the Chiefs last year, Barber and Bell each had a 100-yard game in his absence.
There’s been a #PayForte campaign going on through Twitter since last season. But with each time the disgruntled running back opens his mouth (or puts his fingers to a keypad), I’m more inclined to join the #TradeForte movement.
UPDATE: Forte continued to vent via Twitter, seeking to clarify his position even further. His latest three tweets, as of 5:40 p.m. Thursday night, were (in order):
for the record I’m not mad at the signing of another running back. This is 4th time that’s happened. I embrace competition as well as help
That’s the right attitude to have. You should have stopped ranting right there.
But as for not taking care of ur own and undervaluing a player under his market value is another story! #twitterrant
Nobody in the organization is undervaluing you, Matt. They’re running a business and they’re not going to make a bad investment. Would you buy stocks at their all-time highs? That would be silly.
Just Keeping it real…hate it or love it
I hate it.