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Friday, August 19, 2011
Matt Forte could face 'line in the sand'

By Kevin Seifert

There were a number of takeaway thoughts from Jerry Angelo's 22-minute appearance Friday on ESPN 1000's "The Waddle & Silvy Show." But for me, the most notable quotes from the Chicago Bears general manager came on the state of tailback Matt Forte's contract negotiations.

Matt Forte
Matt Forte is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
As you know, Forte is entering the final year of a rookie deal that will pay him $550,000 this season. He considered holding out from training camp until Angelo pledged to get a deal done. But the sides don't appear close on an agreement, and when asked if he hoped a deal happens sooner than later, Angelo said: "It's got to happen sooner. I don't like to necessarily go into training camp and negotiate with players. We like to do that in the offseason. Unfortunately, we didn't have the ability to do that, but again we want to do the right thing by Matt so we are talking. We're hopeful, but at some point we have to draw a line in the sand and just now focus on the season."

I guess there are several ways to interpret that statement, but whenever I hear "line in the sand" in regards to a contract negotiation, I tend to raise an eyebrow. You would be well within your rights to think Angelo was suggesting the discussions are close to a "take it or leave it" stage.

If Forte "leaves it," he would at least start the season with a contract set to expire this winter. It doesn't mean the sides couldn't come to an agreement by the end of the season, and it would be smart from a salary-cap perspective to do just that. But if you were hoping for an imminent resolution, Angelo's comment suggested one might not be coming.

Angelo spoke on a wide variety of subjects, including: