Entering week nine, Matt Forte led all players in yards from scrimmage. Initially, this would bode well for his case on a new contract. However, with the ball in the Bears court, they haven’t budged on what they’re willing to offer, and have the use of the franchise tag in their pocket.
What was Forte to do? His numbers reflect that of an elite player who commands an elite salary.
“I figured I’d have to make a few mistakes,” said Forte. “So I can demand less money.”
The approach was simple: keep racking up the yards but sprinkle in the occasional fumble.
“I actually forgot we were that deep in our own zone,” Forte said while watching game film of his first fumble against Philadelphia. “Otherwise right there I probably would have tried harder to hold onto the ball.”
Matt Forte has outperformed Frank Gore, Chris Johnson and D’Angelo Williams, who all earned hefty contracts in the offseason. With no new contract in sight, he’s now decided that playing down to their level at times during each remaining game will get him closer to striking a deal. Although this might be deemed controversial, Forte isn’t going to be laying an egg or decreasing his effort. He’s simply going to put in more Frank Gore-esque performances and fumble occasionally.
“Not dogging Frank Gore, he’s a top running back,” praised Forte. “But the dude’s 28, can’t catch the ball out of the backfield like I can, and he fumbles. Clearly he did something right to get his contract.”