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Bears Apply Franchise Tag To Melton

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 4, 2013 9:25PM

2013_3_4_melton.jpg With the NFL’s free agency period ready to start, the Bears put themselves in position to lock in one of their future defensive cornerstones by applying the franchise tag to defensive tackle Henry Melton Sunday. Melton made his first Pro Bowl last season with 33 tackles, six sacks, 24 quarterback pressures, five tackles-for-loss and two forced fumbles. Melton’s quarterback pressures were a team high while his sack numbers ranked third among NFL defensive tackles. Playing the “three technique” in the Bears Cover 2 defense, Melton is seen as the long-awaited replacement for Tommie Harris.

The franchise tag guarantees Melton a one-year, $8.45 million contract but the Bears hope to secure Melton’s services with a long-term deal and have until July to get a deal finalized. Should another team sign Melton, the Bears will receive two first-round draft picks in return. So the tag effectively guarantees Melton will be a Bear through at least next season.

Bears GM Phil Emery said in a statement the team will “continue our conversations with Henry and work toward a multi-year agreement."