The Bears have signed former Oakland Raiders running back Michael Bush, the reason why is not known as of yet. Bush said in a conference call after signing the contract was a four-year deal worth $14 million, with $7 million guaranteed.
Under normal circumstances, this agreement would make sense. However this is not normal. Chicago already has Matt Forte, one of the best running backs in the league and the team’s franchise player. The franchise tag means Forte will be paid $7.74 million, which is $7 million more than he was paid in 2011.
Forte rushed for 997 yards in 12 games, only because he missed the last four because of a knee injury. Yet Forte was back in time for the team had they made the playoffs, which didn’t happen. Forte has been begging the Bears for a new deal since training camp last year. Now with Bush in the fold, where does that leave Forte?
That is a question Forte is trying to get answered. Obviously he is not happy. Initially he went to Twitter and stated “There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the good guys do finish last.” These are not the words of a man that is going to be pleased easily. Yet the Bears, as of now, don’t even know what Forte wants. He has never come out with any contract demands and it appears he won’t anytime soon.
On the other hand, the Bears announced Friday Marion Barber was retiring. Barber came to the team last year after 6 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. The 28 year old rushed for 442 yards on 114 attempts this past season.
Overall in his career, Barber was one of the toughest runners in the league. Not large in stature but long on heart, Barber played like a fullback in a small body. The wear and tear finally took its toll as Barber called it quits.
Barber had quite a career. On 1,156 carries, Barber rushed for 4,780 yards and 53 touchdowns in seven seasons. Dallas drafted him in fourth-round out of Minnesota in 2005. In 2006, Barber led the NFL in rushing touchdowns in 2006 with 14 and made the Pro Bowl in 2007.
However with or without Barber, the Bears need to satisfy Matt Forte and his insecurity about his contract status. Michael Bush could be the Bears number one Running back depending upon what Forte decides to do.
Forte could hold out and not accept the franchise tag from the team. Or he could sign it and decide to come to camp and be a problem. Another option is Forte signs the franchise deal, comes to camp and is a model citizen. Hoping for a long term deal next year.
What he does is anyone’s guess. That’s why the Bears jumped the gun and signed Bush.