Re-signing Henry Melton should be Chicago Bears' top priority

By Gil Alcaraz IV
Henry Melton
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been two months since Henry Melton signed his $8.5 million franchise tender, but the Chicago Bears still have yet to make any significant progress in getting a long-term deal done with their disruptive defensive tackle.

The two parties have until July 15 to get a long-term agreement in place, and it appears that they’re slowly working their way towards that goal.

“We’re just kind of talking through some things,” Melton said. “Everyone is getting set up and getting the draft guys done. Hopefully we can sit down and get something done.”

In the meantime, there’s plenty of reason to believe that Melton will receive the lucrative long-term deal he so rightfully earned last season. The most obvious reason is his effectiveness against the pass.

According to Pro Football Focus, Melton was the No. 7 pass-rushing defensive tackle in 2012, finishing the season with a 15.8 rating. In only 386 pass-rush snaps, he managed eight sacks and 24 quarterback hurries. Throughout the season, he put constant pressure on opposing passers and asserted himself as a disruptive force.

Melton was also one of the most efficient defensive tackles in the NFL against the run last season. Despite playing only 199 run defense snaps, Melton made 36 total tackles while missing none. Considering the average amount of snaps he played, it’s impressive to see the amount of impact stops he made. There’s still room for Melton to improve against the run, but his overall showing made it all the more understandable that received the franchise tag.

Moving forward, the Bears need to make sure that Melton is a part of their defensive front. Getting him signed to a long-term deal before July 15 should be their top priority.

Just imagine a defensive line featuring Melton, Stephen Paea, Shea McClellin and Corey Wootton. That’s the type of front four that will give offensive coordinators nightmares in the not-so-distant future. Melton is the glue that’ll hold it together, so getting him locked down should be the only option for the Bears.

Gil Alcaraz IV is a Content Planner/NFL Featured Columnist for Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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