Guarantee for Matt Forte amounts to two franchise tags

The Chicago Bears finally struck a deal with Matt Forte on Monday and the contract essentially guarantees the Pro Bowl running back what the club would have had to pay him if it went with franchise tags for two years.

Forte’s $31.5 million, four-year contract guarantees him $17.1 million. If the Bears had paid him the franchise tag for this year -- $7.742 million – and then tagged him again next year at a 120 percent increase ($9,209,400) – they would have been on the hook for $17.03 million.

For a fraction more, the Bears now have Forte signed through 2015 and the running back has security beyond a one-year deal. Forte will earn $16.1 million over the first two years of the deal.

In all, the Bears have guaranteed $24.1 million to running backs this offseason. They signed Michael Bush to a four-year deal with $7 million guaranteed in March.

Much excitement for the new offense under line coach turned coordinator Mike Tice is for the addition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall. But the Bears will still be committed to a running game. They already have with their checkbook.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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