No one on the Chicago Bears has a better idea what Matt Forte is going through than Lance Briggs.
The perennial Pro Bowl linebacker played under the franchise tag in 2007 before got a long-term deal as an unrestricted free agent in 2008. Forte has the franchise tag right now and there is no telling if he will receive the multi-year contract he is seeking.
But the Bears are not waiting around on business for Forte, and they proceeded with their offseason Wednesday when Briggs got one year and $7 million in new money tacked on to his contract. He’s now set to be with Chicago through 2014, and will earn $17.5 million over the next three years.
What advice would he give to Forte?
“He’s a grown man and I’d tell him to do what he feels is right,” Briggs said. “You do what you feel is right because I can’t come in his house and say that I’m going to feed his family and neither can you and neither can anybody else. It’s up to him to feed his family, and it’s his life and his career. He knows what his value is and I think all of us know what his value is. So he knows what he’s doing. I will continue to support him and hope that he gets the deal that he knows he deserves and we all do.
“I know exactly where he is. I’ve been there, and I hope that his situation gets resolved soon and I want him to be happy. That’s what it comes down to. I’ve played next to the guy for the last couple of years and I know how much he means to our team.”
Bears middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is entering the final year of his contract and there has been speculation what his future is. It would not be a surprise if the team locked him up with a short-term deal, but nothing has happened to date.
“I think that the Bears will do right by him,” Briggs said. “He’s coming off a great year and hopefully we can play until we’re 49 years old if that’s possible.”
All eyes will be on Forte in the meantime.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune