Posted July 14, 2012

Report: Matt Forte, Chicago Bears ‘extremely close’ to long-term deal

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Matt Forte, Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte wants “respect” for his work in the form of a contract extension. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears and running back Matt Forte are “extremely close” on agreeing to a long-term contract extension that would take the franchise-tag label off Forte, NFL.com’s Michael Lombardi reported Saturday.

A long-term contract would put an end to a long, back-and-forth war of words between Forte and the Bears this offseason. Forte has been seeking a long-term deal since the Bears slapped the franchise tag on him, and he has yet to sign the one-year franchise tender the Bears have offered.

The Bears and Forte have until Monday at 4 p.m. ET to work out a long-term contract.

On Friday, Forte said he was still hopeful of agreeing to a new deal with the Bears.

“Hopefully, it will end up well,” Forte told ESPN.com. “And when? Hopefully by the 16th. That’s the final date, so I’m looking forward to trying to get it done by then. I’m a very optimistic guy, so going into this weekend I’m pretty optimistic that it will get done,” Forte said. “Saying my prayers and everything, hopefully it will get done.”

Forte would make $7.74 million this season under the franchise tender. Forte does have the option of holding out until Week 10, but he would forfeit his salary up to that point. Forte played in 12 games for the Bears last season, rushing for 995 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught 52 passes for 490 yards.