Dear Jerry Angelo,
You have been General Manager of the Chicago Bears since 2001. You’ve got quite a few things wrong during your tenure, but you’ve also got a lot of things right. Here is another one you can get right: give Matt Forte a new contract. He deserves it, and Bears fans deserve it.
We Bears fans have stuck with the team through all the ups and downs of your tenure as GM. Who can forget the nightmare that was the Dick Jauron era? You fired him and replaced him with Lovie Smith, and we stood by the team. You drafted Rex Grossman as the next big quarterback – and that made a rocky road even rockier, although the trip to Super Bowl XLI is a bright spot in recent history. You traded Thomas Jones to give Cedric Benson his big chance – and it didn’t pan out. Do all of us Bears fans a favor and do something that will be a real home run – re-signing Matt Forte.
Forte has been the lifeblood of the offense since being drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He has been a consistent contributor in his three years with the Bears, rushing for over 900 yards in all three of his full seasons (and he is on pace to do the same this season). He has been a great option on passing downs, too – he has caught eight passing touchdowns to date and is on pace to finish with over 2,000 career receiving yards at the end of the season. His 28 career touchdowns (to date), both rushing and receiving, total up to 168 points on the board, not including points he set up by moving the chains on the ground and through receptions.
Forte’s contract is set to expire this offseason. Talks have stalled, and many sports analysts predict that the Bears will, instead of signing him to a long-term deal, give him the franchise tag, a one-year designation. Don’t do it, Jerry Angelo! Look inside yourself and ask if you can, in good conscience, refuse to give the young man from Slidell, La. the contract he deserves. Not since the days of Walter Payton have the Bears had such an explosive and game-changing running back. He wants a long-term contract, Mr. Angelo – just pay the man.
– Serek Hahn, Staff Writer