Examining the Leverage in the Forte Case

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 7: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 7, 2011 in Phildelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Yesterday, I put up my comparison of Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy by the numbers and gave my thoughts on how much Forte is worth compared to McCoy. Today, I thought we'd take a look at Dan Pompei's article discussing the finer points of the "Pay Forte" dilemma.

The first thing the article does is list out the top "tiers" of running backs in the NFL - and smack in the middle of the second tier are Forte and McCoy.

7. Forte: 7. An NFC personnel man pointed out if career numbers alone defined Forte, he might not compare favorably to some of the top backs. But he also pointed out he does a lot for the Bears.

Said another front office man: "Forte can do everything. That's why I like him. He doesn't have any weaknesses. You wish he were more physical at times and played more to his size (6 feet 2, 118 pounds), but he's very athletic and so well rounded."

8. LeSean McCoy, Eagles: "He's more elusive than Forte, a better space player and he gives you more big plays," a personnel director said. "He is electric. Forte doesn't create on his own as much. But he has more size and power. Both have good vision, good hands. McCoy is faster and scares you more in the open field. It's a tossup between them as to who you rather would have."

So wait a second. This might be the only report where a player can do everything, a second player can do some of it even better, and the first is ranked higher, but it's a tossup who you'd rather have? Care to fill in the blank in there?

And while I'm kinda still on the subject, yes, Forte has a higher share of his team's offense than McCoy does - certainly owing to the difference in supporting cast and different schemes. But if a player is getting the ball more often than another player (necessity or other reason), and the yardage between the two is nearly the same, would you not think the one who racked up the yardage on fewer carries is more valuable? Another factor - Forte certainly won't have the same percentage of the offense in 2012 that he did from 2008 to 2011, due to there finally being so many more playmakers on the team.

So if the Bears are to not overpay for past performance and instead pay appropriately for future performance, where does Forte's prior reliance come into play? He's not likely to continue at the same percentage pace - and if that's part of his argument (past reliance), then shouldn't the overall value of his contract decrease? It's a double-edged sword. The team had to rely on him heavily when he was cheap, but now that he's entering his prime years and searching for a contract, he won't be the same significant chunk of the offense that he was - a chunk, but not the 35+% chunk. The Bears simply did what they could do - make a sound business decision. And if Forte wants to be paid more than the team thinks he's worth, I could see the team making another sound business decision after another year of the franchise tag.

Take a look through the rest of the article, and share your thoughts on Pompei's notes about the Bears' leverage.

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