We're Black and Blue All Over:
Matt Forte's appearance Wednesday on ESPN 1000 seemed mostly optimistic to me. The Chicago Bears tailback seems to understand the likelihood he will receive a franchise tag this offseason and realizes it could prove a tool to ultimately get a long-term contract negotiated.
But if the Bears franchise him not for the purpose of negotiations, but instead as their final decision on how to compensate him in 2012, there could be trouble.
Forte: "A lot of teams franchise guys so that they can get a deal done or negotiate a deal. It just depends on what the motive of that is."
The franchise tag for running backs this offseason is expected to be a little less than $8 million. If it seems clear the Bears plan to pay him that salary, with no credible offer for an extension beyond the 2012 season, Forte implied he might not be in training camp on time.
"I wouldn't say holdout," he said, "but people probably wouldn't know where I was."
You say tomato, I say tomahto.
This is a discussion that can't begin in earnest until the Bears hire a new general manager.
Continuing around the NFC North:
New York Giants executive Marc Ross was the third candidate interviewed this week for the Bears' job, notes Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune.
The Bears would be in trouble if offensive coordinator Mike Tice leaves to become the Oakland Raiders' head coach, writes Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.
In a radio interview, via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew admitted the team might not have been aggressive enough in addressing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh's personal fouls and fines earlier in the season.
Mayhew said in the interview that he will still be aggressive on the trade market, notes Justin Rogers of Mlive.com.
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy spoke highly of tight end Jermichael Finley, a pending free agent, during his year-end news conference Wednesday. Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette has more.
McCarthy said that center Scott Wells was the team's best offensive lineman this year and expressed hope that he will re-sign as a pending free agent. More from Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette.
One of McCarthy's biggest disappointments in 2011 was his team's poor tackling, notes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers didn't play to their "identity" in Sunday's playoff loss, McCarthy said, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
The Minnesota Vikings plan to hire former defensive line assistant Brendan Daly as their defensive line coach along with Alan Williams as their defensive coordinator, reports the Star Tribune.
It's clear that an alternate Minneapolis site, on Linden Ave., is the top stadium choice of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
A group of Minnesota legislators met until late Wednesday night to discuss stadium options but reached no conclusions, according to Doug Belden of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.