In an appearance broadcast Thursday night on NFL Network, Forte said he's not aiming to be the highest-paid running back in the league, although few probably believed that was the case anyway.
Under terms of the franchise tag, he would earn $7.742 million this season. Obviously, a multi-year deal would guarantee him significantly more. After signing their draft class, the Bears had roughly $3.81 million in remaining cap room meaning there is ample space to get a deal done if the club finds one that suits its desires.
"It's unfortunate that the organization (can) treat it as a business, when the player does he gets frowned upon," Forte said. "But you have to make do with what's best for you and your family. All my teammates know I'm going to be there for them and give them the best in my heart out there on the field."
Linebacker Lance Briggs is the last Bear to get the franchise tag in 2007, a situation that led to acrimony at the time. He supports Forte, who has missed the voluntary offseason program that will conclude with Thursday's organized team activities at Halas Hall. The Bears will have a mandatory minicamp next week but Forte isn't required to attend because he has not signed the tender that comes with the franchise tag.
"We're all grown men and we know that everyone here, individually, we have to do what we have to do," Briggs said. "So whatever Matt has to do, I completely understand.
"He isn't letting me down, he isn't letting any of his teammates down because it's Matt life and he has put his life and his mind and body on the field for all of this."
The deadline for Forte to sign a multi-year contract is July 16.