Angelo: Forte injury won't change Bears' approach to talks

Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo insisted Sunday that running back Matt Forte's sprained knee will have no bearing on contract negotiations in the offseason, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"His agent (Adisa Bakari) asked us that, he posed that question to us months ago and we told him, 'No, that (an injury) would not change our thinking in negotiations,'" said Angelo, who told the paper that his priority right now is reaching the playoffs.

Forte was injured on Dec. 4 against Kansas City and Angelo had no timetable for his return.

"We will probably know more next week," Angelo said. "Just see how he is feeling. Right now, he is feeling good, the rehab is going well but we haven't really set a definite timetable. We'll know a little bit more next week."

Angelo admitted that the Bears could put the franchise tag on Forte if negotiations aren't fruitful but refused to speculate on it.

"Well, we have that ability to do that," Angelo said. "I'm not going to get into talking about what we're going to do. We'll address all this at the appropriate time and the appropriate time is at the end of the season."

Forte, earning about $555,000 in the final season of a four-year contract, reportedly turned down a Bears' offer before the season that included $13-15 million guaranteed.

Meanwhile, Angelo refused to rule out the return of quarterback Jay Cutler (fractured thumb) before the season ends Jan. 1 at Minnesota. Cutler has been sidelined since hurting the thumb Nov. 20 against San Diego.

Angelo also didn't seem concerned about offensive coordinator Mike Martz's contract situation, saying it will also be dealt with after the season.

"We have had many a coach go into his last year like Mike without a contract," Angelo told the Tribune. "Again, all of that will be addressed at the end of the season. The business will take care of itself."

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