Ever since the firing of Lovie Smith, the coaching staff of the Chicago Bears has changed dramatically. Along with the coaching changes, some changes in personnel may follow. Though some things could be a little different in the 2013 season, some things should stay the same.
Looking at the defensive side of the ball, I believe that re-signing defensive tackle Henry Melton should be near the top of the list when it comes to offseason priorities for the Bears. I feel that there is still a huge question mark on what new defensive coordinator Mel Tucker will do with Chicago’s defense.
Tucker, who’s been a defensive coordinator in the NFL for the past five years, has been in charge of defenses that’s only been ranked in the top 10 once (which was in 2011). In Tucker’s other seasons as DC, his defenses have ranked no higher than 23rd.
Melton is probably the most important part of the Bears’ defensive line, and is a great compliment to defensive end Julius Peppers. Melton, who is a former college running back, was third in the NFL among defensive tackles in sacks in 2011 and 2012, and made his first Pro Bowl this past season.
At the ripe age of 26, Melton is already considered as one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league, and he still has much more room for improvement.
The Bears do have other players who are free agents. Defensive end Israel Idonije, and linebackers Nick Roach and Brian Urlacher all are significant parts to Chicago’s defense. However, Idonije and Urlacher aren’t as young as Melton, and Roach’s play isn’t as impactful as Melton’s.
Re-signing Melton will not only benefit the Bears’ defense for just next season, but it will also help them for years to come. Furthermore, the transition of getting use to a new head coach and defensive coordinator will come a little easier.
It would be great if Chicago could re-sign all of their defensive players for the 2013 season, but if there was only one that could return, it should be Melton. Not re-signing the Pro Bowl defensive tackle will be taking a huge step backwards.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google