Bears GM: Matt Forte staying put

Updated: October 18, 2011, 6:56 PM ET
By Michael C. Wright | ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said Tuesday that the club hasn't received any calls regarding Matt Forte and that he "doesn't see us doing anything" as the trade deadline approached.

Forte's contract impasse with the club led to speculation the running back could be moved, but Angelo made it clear the Bears aren't entertaining potential suitors.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that two teams had internal discussions about Forte, which pleased the running back.

"I'm glad teams are interested," Forte said Sunday, according to the newspaper. "For me to be out here working as hard as I do and not have a contract extension, you kind of get that feeling of being unappreciated. I just hope that when this year is over and I play as well as I've been playing, that if the Bears don't reward me with a contract, another team will.''

Forte leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 908. He leads the Bears in both rushing and receiving yards and accounts for 46 percent of the team's total offense.

Forte is making $600,000 in the final year of his rookie contract, and ESPNChicago.com previously reported the Bears' best offer to the running back maxed out at between $13 million to $14 million in guarantees.

If the sides can't agree on a deal, the Bears could put the franchise tag on Forte, which would pay him a one-year contract of roughly $8 million.

"It kind of doesn't make sense," Forte said, according to the Tribune. "If they don't want to pay me that type of money, why would they use the franchise tag, which is basically paying me that ($8 million) in one year?"

In other news, safety Chris Harris is also remaining with the Bears for now. Agent Albert Elias says he spoke to several teams but was unable to work out a trade before Tuesday's 3 p.m. CT deadline.

Earlier Tuesday, Angelo said that after speaking with Harris -- who requested and received permission to seek a trade on Monday -- and his representatives, "we're all on the same page now," and the team doesn't expect to consummate a trade involving the veteran in part "because it would be too difficult" with such a short time period with which to work.

"You have to be in the mindset to let a player go," Angelo said. "And chances are if they like your player, you like them, too. It's very difficult to do because with a lot of the good players, their teams are still in the hunt."

That certainly seems to be the case with the Bears at 3-3 with 10 games remaining on a schedule that includes matchups with five teams -- Philadelphia, Kansas City, Denver, Seattle and Minnesota -- currently sitting below .500.

So it appears the Bears are content finishing with the players currently on the roster. Offensive linemen and receivers -- for potential trades -- aren't on the team's radar because there aren't any available the Bears believe could help immediately.

According to a source, however, the Bears have discussed bringing in offensive linemen during the late October bye for workouts. Those evaluations would concentrate on potential reserves because there won't be any quality starting offensive linemen available.

Besides that, the team's offensive line appears to be improving and the club is looking toward the pending return of rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi, who partially dislocated his right kneecap Sept. 18 at New Orleans.

Angelo and Bears coach Lovie Smith both expressed optimism about the team's prospects moving forward on offense. The Bears are incorporating blocking schemes that keep tight ends in on passing routes and call for running backs chipping in.

The club also is using more five-step drops designed to help quarterback Jay Cutler get rid of the ball more quickly.

The gradual changes have resulted in Cutler suffering only one sack in two of the club's past three outings.

"I should hope everyone is feeling pretty good about what we did last night," Smith said on Monday. "So where am I with the offense? It's about what have you done lately, and I'm pretty excited about the improvements."

Michael C. Wright covers the Bears for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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