There are still three weeks to go before the franchise-tag doors get thrown open in the NFL. Chicago Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips doesn't plan to let running back Matt Forte walk through them.
"We'd like to [work out a long-term deal with Forte]," Phillips said on ESPN radio. "But as [GM] Phil [Emery] pointed out we obviously will at least consider placing the franchise tag on him. We don't have any intention of letting Matt hit the open market. We'll sit down with him privately, Phil will, and discuss what the plans are prior to the Feb. 20 franchise tag date."
Earlier this year, Forte didn't sound particularly interested in having a franchise tag put on him. "I wouldn't say holdout, but people probably wouldn't know where I was," Forte said, according to the site.
Forte earned his first Pro Bowl roster spot after rushing for 997 yards and three touchdowns last season, despite missing the final four games due to a sprained right medial collateral ligament.