Matt Forte’s price-tag might be too high for Seahawks

Feb 16, 2016, 2:23 PM | Updated: 3:59 pm
Signing Matt Forte could mean forfeiting a 2017 compensatory pick, which Seattle may not be willing...
Signing Matt Forte could mean forfeiting a 2017 compensatory pick, which Seattle may not be willing to do. (AP)

The Seahawks would presumably love to add a productive veteran like Matt Forte to their backfield, but it’s more than just his salary that they’d have to consider.

Forte, who is 30 years old and set to become an unrestricted free agent, has been one of the NFL’s premier all-around running backs over the past eight seasons. He’s compiled more than 12,700 combined rushing and receiving yards and 64 touchdowns with Chicago, which has said it will not re-sign him.

Seattle is among the teams that have been mentioned as potential fits for Forte. ESPN’s John Clayton told “Brock and Salk” that Forte will likely command a deal worth about $3.5 million to $4 million per season, which would put him in the middle class of running-back salaries.

Related: Unlike last offseason, Seahawks have running backs to replace Lynch

However, it’s the potential cost in 2017 compensatory draft picks that could drive teams like Seattle away.

“He’ll still get middle-level type money, he’s just not going to get the big money,” Clayton said. “The question is going to be, will New England be willing to sacrifice a compensatory pick to get him? Will Green Bay do the same thing? He is unrestricted and those are a couple of teams that cherish compensatory picks.”

Any team that signs another team’s unrestricted free agent before May 12 could potentially lose a 2017 compensatory draft pick. Those are awarded based on a formula that calculates the net gain/loss of free agents each season. The formula factors in a player’s salary and playing time, among other things. Last season, the NFL moved up the date – from June 1 – after which newly-signed unrestricted free agents no longer count against their new team’s compensatory-pick total.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider has made it clear how much he values compensatory picks, and may not be willing to offer Forte a deal that could impact a potentially high pick in 2017, considering Seattle might lose a number of its own free agents this offseason.

Brock Huard says Forte is “absolutely not” worth top dollar on the open market, but that Seattle’s interest could change if he still remains unsigned later in free agency and his price-tag is closer to that of a third-down back.

“Yeah, I’m very intrigued then,” Huard said. “But early in the market, where you’re going to have to lose a compensatory pick down the road, no thank you.”

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Matt Forte’s price-tag might be too high for Seahawks