Are Matt Forte, Chicago Bears Headed Towards A Battle?


The Chicago Bears opened their voluntary workout program on Monday, but there was one player noticeably absent.

Matt Forte

, in the final year of his contract, is said to want a new contract and did not show up. Is there trouble brewing between Forte and the Bears?

Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears /

Chicago Bears

Monday was the opening of the Chicago Bears voluntary workout program. It was the first time new head coach John Fox got a chance to speak to the full team. Except there was one player noticeably absent.

Matt Forte is entering the final year of his contract. Of course, he is looking for a new one, but it is still unclear whether the Bears will re-sign him.

Could Forte’s absence be the first sign of a battle brewing?

Forte did tweet, asking everyone to relax, that it was only a voluntary workout.

This is the NFL, however, and we all know that voluntary does not really mean, you know, that the players have a choice.

Coaches want to get their season game plan off to a good start. They want everyone to be on the same page. That is even more crucial for them when they are leading a new team.

If a player skips those “voluntary” programs, coaches start to see them as being a step behind everyone else who did attend.

General manager Ryan Pace is showing that he has no fear in remaking the roster. Presumably, he is doing it in concert with Fox. If they feel a player does not fit their philosophy, they will have no problem getting rid of them.

Fox said last month that he was anxious to see Forte. “I thought he had a productive year last year more so as a receiver than as a runner,” Fox said. “But that is a dimension is important to the success of any offense.”

I may be parsing words now, but is there a meaning behind pointing out that Forte had a better year receiving than running?

Fox is looking to run the ball more this season, and Forte is a big part of that plan. He is entering age 29, the age where many running backs start to show decline. This new regime may not want to give a big contract to a player they feel may be on the decline.

Some take the criticism of Forte not showing up as evidence of him not working to be his best. Seeing Forte over the years, that is the last thing anyone should question. He keeps himself in impeccable shape, and he will be ready once the season begins.

The question is, however, why the no-show? Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is also in the final year of his contract, but he was there on Monday.

If Forte was trying to send a message, this would be the way he would do it. Some say he may skip minicamps, but those are mandatory, and the CBA imposes big fines for skipping mandatory practices. If he skips one day, the fine is $10,500. A second day is $21,000, and a third day becomes a hit of $31,500. That is a total of $63,500, plus the team can take a portion of his signing bonus.

I don’t believe Forte will want to fork over his money.

Will we be hearing chants of “Pay that man” that we heard the last time Forte was looking for a new contract? If so, how will Bears fans react if this regime decides that no, they won’t pay that man? It will make for an interesting season.

Next: Chicago Bears Mock Draft: Expect The Unexpected

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