NFC North: Christian Poner

BBAO: Key number in Matt Forte talks

September, 1, 2011
We're Black and Blue All Over:

On Wednesday, we discussed the Chicago Bears' negotiations with tailback Matt Forte in the context of other deals that have been reached around the NFL. Most recently, the San Francisco 49ers agreed on a three-year extension with tailback Frank Gore. The deal is worth $21 million and includes $13.5 million in guarantees.

How do the Bears value Forte, and how does he value himself? Michael C. Wright of gives us a glimpse by reporting the team has offered a deal that includes about $15 million guaranteed. Unknown at this point is how many years the Bears are offering; generally speaking, more years equals more guaranteed money.

The only urgency for either side to strike a deal at this point is that Forte's value could change once the regular season begins. An injury could lower his value, while some monster games could increase the commitment the Bears will need to make in order to secure him. I guess there is a concern about the distraction of negotiations during the regular season, but to me it's a positive to have a player motivated by as many factors as possible.

Continuing around the NFC North:
We're Black and Blue All Over:

A few weeks ago, we noted how fortunate receiver Roy Williams feels to have landed with the Chicago Bears. He is in a potentially explosive offense with a strong-armed quarterback who has begged for a receiver just like him and an offensive coordinator who coaxed his best seasons in the mid-2000s.

But as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune explains, Williams' transition hasn't gone as smoothly as everyone would have hoped. Cutler has noted that Williams is still "getting back into shape," apparently a reference to the physical condition Williams arrived to camp in, and Williams said their connection is a little more than halfway to where it needs to be.

Biggs writes that "it's premature to say there is a Cutler-to-Williams chemistry issue" but adds: "[I]t's not too early to wonder when they are going to hit it off. He's the big receiver -- 6 feet 3, 215 pounds -- Cutler has pined for but the connection isn't there yet."

I think everyone involved would like to see some progress along those lines in Monday night's preseason game against the New York Giants, to be televised by ESPN.

Continuing around the NFC North: