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The Bears and defensive tackle Henry Melton failed to reach an agreement on a long-term contract before yesterday’s league mandated 3pm deadline to do so. They won’t be able to negotiate again until later in the season. So for now that means that Melton will play the 2013 campaign under the $8.45 million franchise tender he signed in the offseason.
This could backfire on the Bears down the road, but it could also help Henry Melton down the line. The 27-year-old is expected to start on the Bears defensive line this season. How he performs this year will dictate his value in the future. If he has a pro bowl season or something close to it, one of two things could happen……
The Bears could finally give Melton the contract he’s looking for, or another team could offer him more money and lure him away. If he does not perform well then two other things could happen….. The Bears can convince him to re-sign for less money, or he can leave Halas Hall and hope another team would be willing to give him a shot with perhaps more money on the table.
Part of the reason why both sides were unable to reach an agreement can be attributed to the fact that the Bears are still feeling the effects of their current salary cap restrictions. The same restrictions that resulted in the retirement of Brian Urlacher, and the departures of Jason Campbell and Nick Roach.
Another reason could be that the Bears want to see Henry Melton have another solid season before rewarding him financially. No. 69 has made it known that he wants to keep wearing the blue and orange for the rest of his career. Now it’s up to both sides to do their due diligence. Melton needs to earn his money on the field, while the Bears need to take into account every strong outing he puts up this season.
This is especially crucial because next year’s franchise tag will more than likely be reserved for quarterback Jay Cutler who is also in the final year of his contract. If Melton and the Bears front office both do their jobs wisely, Bears fans will be seeing Melton roam the sidelines at Soldier Field for years to come.
If not, then general manager Phil Emery will have his work cut out for him. Follow me on Twitter @GabeSalgado82