Chicago Bears Smart to Use Franchise Tag on Defensive Tackle Henry Melton

By Ben Grimaldi
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears, probably seeing the writing on the wall, were smart to use the franchise tag on defensive tackle Henry Melton yesterday. The writing was the Dallas Cowboys and their need for defensive line help.

It’s no secret the Cowboys have a holes to fill on their defensive line and with the recent hiring of Rod Marinelli as defensive line coach, there were rumors if the Cowboys were going to spend money on a big name free agent, Melton was their target. Dallas doesn’t have a lot of money to spend in free agency but they began the process of clearing out money that will allow them to be active in the free agent frenzy this week by restructuring more than a few contracts. Popular opinion might have been the Cowboys were carving out room for their own free agent Anthony Spencer but I think Melton could have been the bigger target.

Melton had another great year last season collecting six sacks, third among defensive tackles, forcing two fumbles and dominating games at times. Every Cowboys fan should remember the way he took over the game with the Cowboys on Monday Night Football and maybe the Cowboys did too. Melton would have made a natural fit with the Cowboys, especially with the switch to Monte Kiffin’s 4-3 defense and his ties to Marinelli.

Instead, the Bears did the smart thing and kept Melton off the free agent market, where they surely would have lost their Pro Bowl tackle. The Cowboys were lurking and the Bears probably knew Melton wouldn’t have been back in Chicago if they didn’t use their franchise option.

Henry Melton will stay a member of the Chicago Bears for at least one more year and at a price of $8.45 million. Getting Melton back in the fold was a smart move by the Bears, leaving the Cowboys to continue to search for defensive line help.

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