With the bye week upon us, it's time for mid-seasonish awards. We're starting with offense because there is no one more valuable to the Bears than this man. Matt Forte has figured prominently into every Bears win, and is doing it without a contract extension.
Simple math will tell you that Forte is the most valuable man on the Bears offense. Between rushing and receiving, he's responsible for 46.3 percent of the Bears offense. He is the team's leading rusher and receiver. His 672 rushing yards rank him third among the NFL's backs.
Less than halfway through the season, Forte has 1,091 yards from scrimmage. This puts him on track to break the record of 2,509 held by Chris Johnson. He needs just 1,048 more rushing yards to pass Gale Sayers on the Bears all-time rushing list, and will likely break into the Bears' top three single seasons by a running back.
Not only can the Bears count on Forte to get yards, but they can rely on him to not make mistakes. He has touched the ball 162 times this season and hasn't fumbled it once. His catch percentage is higher than any of the Bears wide receivers.
And he has done that all without the contract extension he wanted. Forte is still working off of his rookie contract, which pays him $600,000, or $368 per yard. Johnson, Forte's counterpart in Tennessee who held out for a better contract, is making around $20,000 per yard.
Forte is unquestionably the Bears' most valuable player and deserves to be paid among the league's best. The fact that he's not, but is still playing as well as he is, speaks to the kind of player he is. Hopefully, the Bears will see his value and lock him down.