In case you missed it, and I'm not quite sure how you could if you're a Bears fan, Matt Forte was slapped with the franchise tag yesterday, at the least solidifying him for next year (provided he doesn't hold out) with a $7.7 million payday.
But this doesn't mean it's the end of negotiations, as I'm also sure you're aware. Below the fold, let's take a look at some of the running back contracts out there, and let's see what would be a fair comparable for Forte.
Phil Emery has some experience in working with talented running backs - Jamaal Charles in Kansas City got a five-year, $32.5 million contract (with $13 million guaranteed) in 2010 and Michael Turner signed a six-year, $34.5 million contract with $15 million guaranteed in 2008.
Then there's Adrian Peterson's contract that he signed just before the 2011 season started - seven years, $100 million ($36 million guaranteed) and the Panthers' DeAngelo Williams - five years, $43 million ($21 million guaranteed). And of course, Frank Gore's four year, $25.9 million contract ($13.5 million guaranteed) that he signed back in 2009.
Prior to the start of this season, Forte's camp turned down the Bears' offer of $13 million guaranteed and were seeking close to $20 million guaranteed, and the market's gone up a bit since the Gore, Williams and Turner contracts were signed.
They'll get a long-term deal done before the mid-July deadline, though it might be closer to Forte's ideal number than the Bears' ideal number, thanks to some of the other contracts out there. Forte's contract also means a lot elsewhere - LeSean McCoy's contract is up after this coming season, and he's in the exact same position Forte found himself in last year - although when Forte signs, it'll set a precedent for McCoy, which Forte doesn't quite have.