An Ill Wind Blows In The Windy City ..

An Ill Wind Blows In The Windy City ..

by tophatal …. Other NFL pieces within this site

I don’t know that things can or will get much worse but it appears that within the front office of the Chicago Bears there is little common sense being shown , as it relates to the contract negotiations for the team’s Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte . Inasmuch, as GM Phil Emery wants to be seen as being judicious in these deliberations the situation with each passing moment alienates the player and his ongoing relationship with the organization . The Bears state that they have some concerns as to player’s durability and those issues deal with Forte’s knees and the fact that he has suffered knee injuries in each of the last two seasons with the Chicago Bears . Matt Forte’s agent Adisa Bakari has taken the Bears’ front office to task , questioning their real intent and whether or not they wish to sign the player to a long-term contract.

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At present , Matt Forte is not among the highest-paid running backs in the NFL but he has been amongst the most productive over the last four seasons . Head coach Lovie Smith and his coaching staff know that if the team is to have any chance of challenging the supremacy of the Green Bay Packers within the NFC North , then it will be incumbent upon the organization either signing the player to a new deal commensurate to his talent or they could seek to “ franchise tag” Matt Forte , signing him to a one-year qualifying deal . Forte , a four-year starter with the Bears was drafted 44th overall in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft out of Tulane University . It did take some time for Matt Forte to establish himself in the NFL but it was apparent for all to see that he would indeed be a very productive player in this league . His most productive year was his rookie season of 2008 but the improvements have been made whereby his all-round game has flourished.

Last season with the Chicago Bears missing the playoffs , Forte was still able to prove his worth to the team by proving to be a major part of their offensive productivity . As I alluded to earlier , it will be extremely difficult for the Bears to be competitive enough to challenge the Packers within their own division , much less the entire league without Matt Forte’s skill-set . During the off-season the Bears acquired ….. Brandon Marshall to join former teammate Jay Cutler , with a view to providing the quarterback with another offensive target . However, it should be noted that in this year’s NFL Draft GM Phil Emery sought to bolster the team’s roster with a complement of picks that would benefit both the defensive and offensive side of the ball .

And during this off-season it has not been lost on Matt Forte that many of his peers have sought raise their salaries while seeking to either negotiate or renegotiate the terms of their contracts . The highest paid running back in the NFL at present , happens to be the Tennessee Titans’ running back Chris Johnson , whose 6 year deal for $55 million ( $30 million guaranteed – $10 million signing bonus) . The determining factor that could go a long way in assisting Matt Forte’s position are the current crop of free agents , restricted free agents and their endeavors in seeking out new deals . The Baltimore Ravens all-purpose running back Ray Rice is intent on seeing not only his “stock” being raised but also his bank balance by way of a new deal . . With the waters certainly being muddied at present , a number of players seeking to holdout or forego OTA’s and mandatory training camps merely to get their points across in terms of salary demands . Last season’s NFL rushing leader …. .. Maurice Jones-Drew is presently at logger-heads GM Gene Smith and the entire Jacksonville Jaguars organization .

Jones-Drew seeks a new long-term deal , albeit that he currently has two years left on his existing contract with the Jaguars . Set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 , the running back is due $17.2 million over the next two seasons . Team owner Shahid Khan and head coach Mike Mularkey have expressed their concerns but they are not prepared to acquiesce to the player’s demands , categorically stating that Maurice Jones-Drew must fulfill his contractual obligations to the franchise before they can set about negotiating a new deal for the player. As the relationship between the player and franchise now deepens becoming increasingly clear that neither side is about to budge from their original stance. We all know that first and foremost , the NFL is a business and that business just happens to be in the line making money _________ lots of it as a matter of fact . Team owners have always tried to paint the players as being greedy and likewise the players via their union (NFLPA) have sought to portray the league hierarchy and franchise owners as being less than honorable . What is undeniable , is the very fact that the NFL as an industry is a $ 7 to $8.5 billion-a-year financial behemoth whose hunger and lust for money knows no boundaries . Feeding into this all , just happens to the cable and major broadcast outlets and networks that carry the brand . Bear mind that the value of the franchises are at an all-time high and are as profitable as ever , and the owners are not about to come out of their cocoons , and suddenly plead poverty .

From a fan standpoint , it is hard to have any empathy towards a multimillionaire athlete or owner quibbling over figures that in large part the vast majority of fans cannot relate to . In the midst of this all the league hierarchy comes across to those very same supporters as in-compassionate , whose degree of honesty and integrity can be best described as than desirable . While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seeks to create the perception that the NFL stands on solid ground , less we forget , his handling of the recent labor dispute as well as the fallout from the New Orleans Saints’ “ bounty scandal “ shows how inept his tenure has become and the very fact that , as he leads , like sheep the owners will follow .

Don’t look now but the Chicago Cubs still suck while sharing the worst record in baseball alongside the Colorado Rockies (30-49) . Far be it for me to suggest but team owner Tom Ricketts , even after the hiring of Theo Epstein to head the franchise’s Baseball Operations and Epstein’s own hand-picked general manager , Jed Hoyer , absolutely nothing has changed . . Team manager Dale Sveum and his coaching staff have struggled to get this team to perform even moderately in terms of being competitive .

Although the team is on a 4 four game winning streak , and winners of six of their last ten games . It has to be said that there have not been many highlights over the course of the season for the Chicago Cubs can actually feel proud . Granted , the play of Starling Castro , Jeff Samardzija , Brian La Hair and Anthony Rizzo have heightened that sense of anticipation , there is the belief that this team is still a long way from where it really needs to be .

Long thought of as being one baseball’s more heralded teams , in reality there has been of late to suggest that the ball-club is now heading in the right direction . Jed Hoyer’s predecessor Jim Hendry saddled the franchise with a number of exuberant and often dubious contracts and along the way the players in question have failed to produce . The mess has to be cleaned up and it may well take the hands of a skilled surgeon to “cull the dead weight” on this roster and simply jettison those pieces and start afresh . The Chicago Cubs , within their minor league system have a number of promising prospects , and the rationale now must be “ bring up them up now and simply see how they fare . To my mind those players cannot be any worse than those on display during this season !

Having defeated the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field , in Atlanta , Georgia , 4-1 , the team remains the guests of the NL East …… franchise for the remaining three games of their original four-game series . On the mound today for the Cubs will be Chris Volstad (0-6, 7.46 ERA) , as he squares off against Jair Jurrjens (1-2, 6.07 ERA) of the Braves . No hard and fast rule here , as both pitchers will try to gain something for their respective teams , while also looking to bolster their beleaguered statistics .

It goes without saying anything short of a series’ win and the Cubs’ season will only resonate with those who have a love for the stench of rotting flesh or fecal matter . An appropriate analogy do you believe ?

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Picture gallery .

Do you believe that the Chicago Bears are within their rights not to offer Matt Forte a contract extension ? Or do you believe that the player is justified in voicing his concerns ? Are of the opinion also that Maurice Jones-Drew should be treated differently , given his set of circumstances ? By all means leave a comment on this and anything else you believe pertinent to the subject matter .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears is hit by Donald Butler (56) of the San Diego Chargers at Soldier Field on November 20, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Chargers 31-20 . Jonathan Daniel /Getty Images North America ….

(2) Running back Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears takes in a game against between the Chicago Bulls and the Atlanta Hawks at the United Center on January 3, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Hawks 76-74 . Johnathan Daniel / Getty Images North America

FILE – This Dec. 24, 2011 file photo shows Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew before an NFL football game between the Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, in Nashville, Tenn. The Jaguars have no plans to renegotiate running back Jones-Drew’s current contract. General manager Gene Smith confirmed Monday, June 11, 2012 that Jones-Drew wants a new deal, but made it clear it’s not going to happen. AP Photo/Wade Payne …

(4) From left to right , Jacksonville Jaguars’ owner Shahid Khan , head coach Mike Mularkey and GM Gene Smith . The trio is in agreement that they will not renegotiate the contract of Maurice Jones-Drew , who still has two years remaining on his existing deal before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2014 . AP Photo/ Brett Thompson ….

(5) GM Jed Hoyer (far left) is seen here alongside Chicago Cubs’ team manager Dale Sveum (center) and EVP & Head of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein (right). The team has gotten off to uneasy start this season and have not been able to gain any traction within the NL Central . AP Photo / Garrett Shaw ….

(6) Chicago Cubs’ Luis Valbuena gestures to the dugout while Atlanta Braves’ Chipper Jones watches after Valbuena’s three-run double , and a throwing error, advances him to third base in the seventh inning of their baseball game on Monday, July 2, 2012, at Turner Field in Atlanta. AP Photo/David Tulis …

(7) ATLANTA, GA – JULY 02: Darwin Barney (15) of the Chicago Cubs reacts after turning a double play over Jason Heyward (22) of the Atlanta Braves in the ninth inning at Turner Field on July 2, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images …..

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Amber Foxx aka …. Amber McNeil aka Brandi

Blood In Blood , Blood Out ……..

Blood In , Blood Out ………….

By tophatal

We’re constantly being told that the NFL is more a business than anything else and the brand itself as a form of entertainment is solely a way for the respective parties to derive their revenues and a profit . The league hierarchy in conjunction with the team owners and union (NFLPA) in conjunction with one another , all have a common interest in making sure that the league is a smooth running , viable and profitable business concern . This being a $ 7 billion a year industry that has now seen its tentacles spread not just across North America but now into burgeoning markets within Europe , the continent of Africa and the Pan Pacific basin . And with the league now scheduling not only preseason games but also regular season games abroad , I would dare say that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is now seeking world domination , in line with the sport of soccer !

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Now while the NFL has returned to full action after a near five month layoff due to the hierarchy enforced stoppage not all of the major problems that we were seemingly told had met with an equitable agreement has been mutually beneficial for all. For the retired veterans of the league in particual those who retired during the late eighties and prior are now having a hard time dealing with many of the issues that the league itself and the union tried to suggest was always on their radar. It is clear when veterans such as Dave Duerson and Mike Webster die under such needless circumstances wherein they have had to go into debt merely to pay for their medical necessities it is a clear indication that the NFL and union have and are still letting their players down . But then again anyone who would profess to the fact that the league or union has actually cared for the retired veterans would be naive . It is the furthest thing from the truth and it this can be candidly proven by the statements attributed directly former NFLPA Executive Director Gene Upshaw who once had the temerity to suggest ….. that his only concern at the time was with the well being of the players now currently playing in the league rather than those who had retired years before . A clear slap in the face to many of the former NFL great’s peers . Upshaw’s successor DeMaurice Smith has said little about what he and his executive committee’s intentions are concerning many of the issues raised by retired veterans such as Carl Eller and other who are being denied certain benefits rightfully due to them . But the very fact that in the waning moments of the collective bargaining agreement deliberations and negotiation somehow $1 billion was set aside in a now sealed document as part of the deal has me now wondering what the league and union are not only hiding from the fans but also from the retired veterans , themselves !

US Federal Court Judge Arthur Boylan who presided over the hearings between the NFL and NFLPA sided with the league rather than the retired veterans on the issue of the details being sealed but somehow the so called NFL writers who cover the league saw nothing dubious or surreptitious in this arrangement . But such has been the machinations of all of the parties concerned it is only reasonable to presume that the league would rather not only continue to keep the fans in the dark but also many of the very individuals from the past who in essence made the NFL what it is today . Perhaps the league , the union and owners aren’t overly concerned as to the plight of these former NFL veterans ?

Monday night will pit the Chicago Bears (4-3) against the slowly resurgent Philadelphia Eagles (3-4) in a game that could very well in part ultimately give us an indication as to the direction that both teams appear to be heading in . The Bears and Eagles now find themselves adrift within their respective divisions with the Green Bay Packers (7-0) running away with the NFC North , while the New York Giants (5-2) are having one of their better seasonal starts under their coach Tom Coughlin within the NFC East .

Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania will be the setting for this clash between these two NFC teams . At this juncture it would be safe to say that after the Eagles’ annihilation of the Dallas Cowboys —- 34-7 the fans are perhaps no longer calling for the head of coach , Andy Reid . The players and the coaching staff still know that they have a steep hill to climb if they are to fare well over the remainder of their season . And it goes without saying that all eyes will be upon the team’s quarterback Michael Vick , because as he goes , then so does this team .

For the Chicago Bears their season has been engulfed with the continued deliberations as to whether or not the team’s running back Matt Forte is due a big payday . He has been the team’s most productive offensive weapon since being drafted by the team in 2008 . And this season has proven to be no different for the young running back as he looks to make himself invaluable to the team and the organization as a whole . Certainly , GM Jerry Angelo and senior managing partner Ted Phillips know that they can ill afford to mistreat the team’s most prized asset and not run the risk of making the player feel aggrieved and perhaps demand a trade. For the moment Forte has simply stated that he’s there to be a team player but I am now beginning to wonder how long that will last ! Especially in light of the fact he’s now seeing players such as Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson being richly rewarded for their productivity . And needless to say with the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy simply running amok around the league it’d be safe to say also , that he too will be looking for a contract that is commensurate with his talent .

It is clear that if the Bears are to be successful they will need to be at their very best if they’re to have any chance within their division but much of the team’s aspirations will rest squarely on the shoulders of Jay Cutler . We know that the defense of this Bears’ team can be very good when they set their minds to the task at hand . And I am thoroughly convinced that Andy Reid’s offense will be looking to test that much vaunted defense of the Chicago Bears . .

As I alluded to earlier it will be interesting to see what moves may well be made by the Bears’ front office as it concerns Matt Forte . Does Jerry Angelo reward the player or simply look to use the franchise tag once again simply to underscore Forte’s undoubted talent , and at the same time deny him market value in terms of his true worth ? Clearly, this use of the ” tag “, simply as a ploy that benefits the teams rather than it simply being about being a bargaining chip that has some altruistic benefit for a player .

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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you as it concerns Matt Forte and his impending contract negotiations ? And how do you view Chicago Bears as quite possibly a legitimate NFC contender this postseason ? As to the NFL lockout as a fan are you wholly satisfied by the negotiations that took place and the way that both the league and unions conducted themselves during their deliberations ? Simply chime in with a comment as you deem fit .

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Picture and slide show details below .

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(1) Lovie Smith head coach of Chicago Bears talks to officials during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. The Bears defeated the Buccaneers 24-18 . Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images …

(2) Johnny Knox (13) of the Chicago Bears is tackled by Corey Lynch (41) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Aqib Talib (25) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images ….

(3) A general view of play during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images …..

(4) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears attempts to gain ground during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images …..

(5) Matt Forte (22) of the Chicago Bears runs with the ball during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images ….

(6) LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Jay Cutler(6) of the Chicago Bears in action during the NFL International Series match between Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Wembley Stadium on October 23, 2011 in London, England. This is the fifth occasion where a regular season NFL match has been played in London. Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images ……

(7) DeSean Jackson (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles stiff arms Orlando Scandrick (32) the Dallas Cowboys during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 34-7 . Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images ……

(8) LeSean McCoy (25) of the Philadelphia Eagles crosses the goal line as he scores a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 34-7. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images ….

(9) Michael Vick (7) of the Philadelphia Eagles shakes hands with head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys after the Eagles defeated the Cowboys 34-7 at Lincoln Financial Field on October 30, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images …..
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