The Bears and Matt Forte had until 4 PM ET on Monday to reach an agreement on a new contract for the 26-year-old running back, or else he'd play the 2012 season under the franchise tender ($7.749 million).
Well, just a few hours before the deadline, the two sides were indeed able to reach a long-term deal.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Bears and Forte agreed to a four-year, $32 million contract (no word yet on how much of the money will be guaranteed):
The soap opera is finally over! Well done, Phil Emery.
We'll be sure to provide more details (such as the Bears confirming the deal, and the guaranteed money involved) as they become available.
UPDATE: According to the Chicago Sun-Times' Sean Jensen, Forte will receive over $18 million in guaranteed money:
And as the Chicago Tribune's Vaughn McClure points out, Forte and his agent initially sought $20 million in guarantees, while the Bears first offered $15 million in guarantees:
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