"Gold 42! Gold forty- No, I'm not coming to the workouts! You hear me Benson? Hut hut!"
Matt Forte still hasn't signed his $7.7 million franchise tag, and isn't going to show up at voluntary workouts without a deal in place. Considering training camp doesn't start for another three months, preseason in four, and the regular season in September, I wouldn't say I'm in full-on panic mode just yet.
Other players not expected to show up under the same circumstances include Dwayne Bowe, who led the league in touchdown receptions in 2010 with 15 and last year had 81 receptions for 1159 yards and 5 touchdowns; Wes Welker, who's had at least 110 receptions in four of his last five years catching passes from Tom Brady; and Ray Rice, two-time Pro-Bowler with three consecutive 1200-yard seasons and last year pounded in 12 touchdowns to double his career total (And just for comparison's sake, also 704 rushing yards on 76 receptions).
Those are some pretty high-profile players with some gaudy numbers missing voluntary workouts, and yet there doesn't seem to be the same level of panic about them. I understand the concept of "rewarding your own," and the Bears are probably a better team with Forte than without, but the Bears haven't added (and still might add) offensive pieces to make the offense continue to rely on Forte. That's not really a reason to panic about Forte not being signed.
As far as trading him... I agree that trading a player like this can bring some needed rebuilding assets, but it doesn't seem like there's any consensus on his value. And looking at recent prior running back trades, there isn't much that really compares. Tim Hightower went to Washington for a veteran journeyman defensive end and a late-round pick. Ronnie Brown would have been traded for Jerome Harrison and an undisclosed draft pick before that trade was nixed due to Harrison's brain tumor. Leon Washington went to Seattle in 2010 for a fifth-round pick.
Yes, the market sets Forte's value, but we're not necessarily even sure what Forte's value is on the market. But there's still plenty of time for a deal to be reached and the situation to sort itself out.
Are you worried yet about Forte's contract negotiations, or is this just a speed bump?