Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011
Posted: 1:18 p.m.
By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
At the outset of training camp, Bears GM Jerry Angelo expressed optimism about getting a new deal done with running back Matt Forte, who said he took Angelo at his word that real work would be done to make a new contract happen.
As camp went on, the optimism faded. The Bears put an offer on the table that topped that of Kansas City Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, with more than 10 million in guaranteed money but it was deemed not sufficient by the Forte camp.
But as far as Angelos early comments that Forte was a priority, I dont think he lied about that, Forte said. We tried to get a deal done. I guess maybe they have a different view of the type of player I am than I think I am.
Forte clearly expected to be under a long-term deal by this time. Now the official line is that no negotiations will happen until post-2011 season.
Im a little surprised and disappointed that it wasnt done, Forte admitted. Coming into the league you feel that its supposed to be production-based, and when you produce, you expect the team or the organization to actually notice that, compared to other guys. We just couldnt meet in the middle, I guess.
The Bears opening with three playoff teams (Atlanta, New Orleans, Green Bay) seems at first like a schedule-makers vendetta. After all, the schedule does include some first-year coaches and teams coming off bad years and lost offseasons. The Bears couldve drawn the Carolina Panthers, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders or Denver Broncos, all with coaches in their first full years with their teams or first years as head coaches, period.
But the Bears dont look at that way. Last year they had the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins all teams that finished with losing 2010 records and they barely got out of that stretch with a winning (4-3) record.
Besides, I mean, theres no Division-2 schools, quarterback Jay Cutler said Wednesday. We dont have a lot of options, so we got to take what it is. We got Atlanta, and we have to deal with it.
Jason LaCanfora at NFL Network reports that safety Brandon Meriweather is being paid 3.25 million, which is a lot for a backup, which no one expects him to be for long. But the Bears did give center Chris Spencer a two-year deal worth 6 million, an indication that the Bears regard him as starter-grade and likely will be at some point.
But the market sets the price ultimately, and to the Bears credit, Meriweather is listed behind Major Wright on the depth chart released Tuesday. The two could switch places and Meriweather start, however, if Wednesday and Thursday practices dont go well for Wright.
John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.