Matt Forte will be a Chicago Bear in 2012.

But don’t get too excited just yet. Matt Forte has not signed a new contract with our beloved Bears just yet. New General Manager Phil Emery has decided to use the 2012 franchise tag on Matt Forte for the upcoming season. Should the Bears and Forte not agree on a new contract for the start of the season, he will make $12.7 million via the franchise label. Now what does franchise mean?

It’s not a contract. But what it does mean is that Forte can only leave the Bears if he is traded. Now there are two ways to look at this transaction: 1. The Bears are not committed to a long-term deal to keep Forte in a Bears uniform {Some Bears fans and maybe even Forte himself feels this way. I’m sure Forte’s agent does for sure}. And 2. The Bears are smart by using the franchise tag so other teams can’t sign him.

And I’d have to agree with option number 2. Remember, the Bears did the same thing with Lance Briggs just a few years ago. At first Briggs wasn’t happy about it. But he accepted it, played his ass off, and was eventually awarded with a new contract. Hopefully the same will happen to Matt Forte, or perhaps Phil Emery and President Ted Phllips are using the franchise tag as a smoke screen.

A smoke screen in which they keep Forte on the roster while still working out a contract. It seems like smart business to me, and I hope that one way or another Matt Forte will get a brand new contract to stay with the Bears. He is a major piece to the offensive puzzle, he can easily gain 1’000 yards both receiving and rushing, he is also a key in pass protection.

The Bears can’t afford to lose him. And knowing that, I trust the judgement of the Bears front office to do the right thing in the long run.

On a personal note… Don’t be surprised if you find me at the Chicago Rush’s home opener VS Tampa Bay at Allstate Arena on Saturday. I hope to see you there as well.

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