Jerry Angelo says contract talks for Matt Forte on hold

There won’t be any more chatter about a contract for Matt Forte.

Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said money talks have been put on hold until after the season. He also said the team isn’t going to address the current situation with linebacker Lance Briggs until after the season.

Angelo said in the first week of training camp his “intent” was to get a long-term extension done for Forte, but the club and the running back’s agent Adisa Bakari have not been able to come close on terms for a new pact.

Meanwhile, DeAngelo Williams struck it big right after the lockout ended with a $43 million, five-year contract that includes $21 million guaranteed. Tennessee running back Chris Johnson got a record-setting $55.26 million, six-year contract that includes $30 million guaranteed. San Francisco’s Frank Gore got a $21 million, three-year extension but it’s light on guarantees. While he’s protected for injuries, he’s not protected against skill meaning the 49ers can cut him without being on the hook for big money.

Forte’s pay day is on hold.

We’ve decided that we’re just going to focus on the season and that’s something we talked about when we went into the negotiations,” Angelo said on WBBM-AM 780 in Chicago Monday night. “We were hopeful, I’m not saying the door is shut, but right now our focus is going to be on the season.

“There was a mutual understanding. We visited a few times. In our last meeting we felt like with the season upon us that right now we want to focus and Matt wants to focus on the season and having the great year that we all expect and know that he will.”

What’s left? Well, Forte can look to the opportunity to hit the open market and the Bears can let him know they’re not averse to using the franchise tag, something they did with Briggs in 2007. Could negotiations be rekindled during the season? It’s impossible to rule that out.

Meanwhile, Briggs is upset halfway through a $36 million, six-year contract he got in 2008 as an unrestricted free agent.

“I understand his position, this isn’t something that is new to us and or to the league,” Angelo told WBBM. “These things come up from time to time. It’s the business side of it. Because we had the lockout a lot of this would have been done behind closed doors, so to speak. Unfortunately there were some comments made in the media and now our laundry is out there.

“What he’s doing is not something that hasn’t been done, here in Chicago and as I said around the league. We feel very, very confident that Lance’s focus is going to be on the season and having a great year and we’ll just take care of our business when that time comes and that will be at the end of the year.”

Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs

Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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