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David Haugh: Forte Losing Leverage and Getting Bad Advice

That's Phil Emery, who must have said something bad about Matt Forte to a coworker or something.
That's Phil Emery, who must have said something bad about Matt Forte to a coworker or something.

Spongie broached this topic in Thursday's Den, but I thought it deserved a spot on the front page.

On Chicago Tribune Live, David Haugh discussed the ever-evolving franchise tag situation (or should we by this point say ever-devolving) and staked his claim that Forte wouldn't sign a deal worth $20 million guaranteed - essentially, a contract greater than LeSean McCoy's.

"I think it's personal, it's contentious, and it's- I don't think he's getting good advice."

He goes on to discuss how Forte and Maurice Jones-Drew share an agent and how said agent is encouraging Jones-Drew to hold out (having already skipped minicamps) with two years and $9.4 million remaining on his deal, and the panel brings up the fates of running backs who signed big deals - either injured/underperforming (Chris Johnson) or haven't won a Super Bowl (Adrian Peterson).

Go ahead and check out the video clip, then after suffering through Dave Kaplan, my thoughts below.

Let's be honest - it's clear Forte hasn't had much, if any, leverage to begin with, but more than he thought. Is Michael Bush a starting NFL running back? If your strict definition is "Running back who started games," then Kahlil Bell is a starting running back as well. The Bears did what any team would do - shore up depth.

But beyond that, leverage goes only as far as the current team situation. The team's gone away from being the ground-n-pound offense that has occasionally been required, with a well-paid quarterback, well-paid wide receiver, well-paid backup running back... So, really, what's Forte's leverage? None. Holdouts were and are typically used to amplify leverage. The problem is that he's no longer in a position to have that leverage amplified. He's not the team's only offensive weapon anymore - his case amounts to "You used to not be able to live without me." Too bad for Matt he can't retroactively hold out for the 2010 or 2011 seasons.

So if Forte's solely holding out because he feels it's personal, either his agent has to get him to come down off the ledge and sign the tender (given the way this is going, unlikely) or he has to lower his asking price or come 2013, he'll be in a different uniform. Any time disagreements get personal, it rarely works out well at all.

Haugh points out that even though the Bears and the McCaskeys have stereotypes about the way they do business (the uncreative McCheapskys should provide one hint), they've been fair as far as spending on elite players.

Put yourself in Forte's (and MJD's) agent's shoes. Would you have advised Forte to hold out? How about MJD? Do you think Haugh has a valid point about the agent's advice?