Niners v. Bears
Every time I read about Matt Forte, it upsets me. The man is 48% of the Chicago offense and they pay him $600,000 a year. He is a top 5 running back in the league. He is professional, hardworking, everything you could ask of a man, and how does Chicago treat him? Like a piece meat. They are going to suck him dry and leave him literally limping in his old age. They won't give him a new contract - they plan to designate him as a franchise player in 2012 - thereby getting their 4 years out of him, let him go in free agency, let some shitty team like Arizona sign him for a 3 year deal where he probably gets injured due to overwork in his first 4 years.
From a strict dollars and cents perspective, it is smart. Running backs are a dime a dozen and bad long term investments. Look at Dallas, basically picking DeMarco Murray off the street, and the guy is arguably similarly effective as Forte. All this said, it is a shitty way to run a business.
When the Niners signed Frank Gore this year to a 3-year, $21 million dollar deal, I winced. Gore is 28 and missed a lot of last year. He is probably past his prime as a running back and everyone, myself included, thought it would take years of rebuilding under Harbaugh before the Niners ever became a contender. Why would we invest in Gore and at a position that is easily replaceable? The reason - because Frank Gore is a Forty Niner. He epitomizes what we want the character of our team to be. The guy dropped in the draft to the 2nd round because everyone thought he had a bum knee. What did he do? Work his ass off and three years later he led the league in rushing on a half decent 8-8 team. He declared he'd run for 2000 yards the following year. He was the one bright spot of a franchise that had sunk into the doldrums.
The Niners decided to stick with Gore. We went against the smart "dollars and cents" move and rewarded the player for his character, past performance, and because we wanted him to finish out his career as a Forty Niner. He will be the Niners all time leading rusher by the end of his career. He is still the character of our offense. And this year, he ran for 100 yards in 5 straight games. Granted, he is injured right now. But he'll be back.