Just hours before the NFL's deadline to sign franchise tagged players, the Bears and Matt Forte reportedly have agreed on a long-term deal.
Sean Jensen tweeted the news just after defensive lineman Israel Idonije congratulated Matt Forte via Twitter. Adam Schefter added it is a four-year deal, averaging $8 million a year.
“I'm proud to be a Chicago Bear and excited to be here for another four years,” Forté said through a Bears press release. “I'd like to thank my family, my agent and the Chicago Bears. I've been working hard this offseason and am looking forward to joining my teammates at training camp next week. I'm glad the business part is done and we can all turn our attention to football and our goal of winning a championship.”
His teammates are happy to have him back. Wide receiver Johnny Knox exclusively told NBC Chicago's Peggy Kusinski:
"Something that we all wish could have been solved a long time ago, but that's just the business part of the game. Glad to have him back in the locker room! Oh and I shouldn't have to say well deserved!"
These contract negotiations have been going on since March of 2011 and spanned two general managers.
With a deal in place, Forte won't miss any training camp and will have time to acclimate to Mike Tice's new offense. With Michael Bush's signing in the off-season, the Bears have a strong running offense for years to come.