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.
Slide show gallery for your perusal .
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 ?
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 .
Picture and slide show details below .
(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 …..
Amber Foxx aka …. Amber McNeil aka Brandi