Last week I was enamored with the greatness of Devin Hester. Today my mind is caught up in the realization that Matt Forte is the real deal. Look, I liked him in 2008 when he quietly set the Chicago Bears rookie rushing record. The he faltered a bit in 2009, and rebounded with a very effective 2010.
Entering the 2011 Chicago Bears season I may have agreed with Bears’ management’s feeling that Forte isn’t an elite NFL running back. But week after week, he is amazing me. His 32-yard touchdown run was the early appetizer, and he continued to impress through the rest of the game, finishing with 145 yards rushing. Forte broke the 1,000 combined yards plateau just seven games into the season and remains on pace to be only the third running back to finish a year with 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in a season.
Word has it that the Bears organization offered Forte “Frank Gore money,” which I believe was around $12 million guaranteed, far short of what Carolina gave DeAngelo Williams and what Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson received from Minnesota/Tennessee.
I’d say that Peterson is the NFL’s elite running back, but then again Forte blew Peterson out of the water in their head-to-head performances last Sunday night. I think “Peterson/Johnson money” was between $22 and $25 million guaranteed. Can’t the Bears find a middle ground for their workhorse, who is becoming more and more special in my eyes every week?
For a team that has never kept their star offensive players healthy historically, can’t the Bears find a way to reward this monster back who has started 54 straight games since his rookie season?