Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/16/12

The Bears and running back Matt Forte agreed to a four-year contract Monday, hours before the deadline for franchise players to sign new deals.

ESPN reported the deal will have an average value of $8 million per season.

Had Forte not signed a new agreement, he would have played under a one-year, $7.749 million franchise tender.

In four seasons with the Bears, Forte has averaged 1,058 rushing yards per season and has at least 51 catches in all four years since he was a second-round pick in 2008.

Forte, 26, missed the final four games last season with a left knee injury. Negotiations have been on and off since training camp last summer. Forte publicly challenged then-general manager Jerry Angelo's position that the Bears made him a "fair offer" at the time.

He expressed unhappiness with the team's front office throughout the year and into the offseason, including when the team signed backup Michael Bush for a four-year, $13 million deal, but had said he would definitely play for the Bears this season.

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