As the deadline to sign a long-term deal has arrived for franchise players in the NFL, the Chicago Bears are officially moving on from those negotiations with defensive tackle Henry Melton. In 2013, Melton will play for the franchise tender of $8.5 million.
According to NFL.com, Melton had been seeking a four or five year deal worth up to $18-$20 million in guaranteed money. Not surprisingly, the Bears did not want to cough up the necessary cash to sign him to such a contract.
The team has made a huge mistake in not getting this guy inked to a new contract for the long haul. Melton is one of the few elite players left on the defense that is young and continues to get better. Last season he made his first Pro Bowl as he compiled 43 tackles, six sacks and two forced fumbles.
Melton is by far and away one of the most athletic defensive tackles in the NFL. Coming into Texas, he played running back to begin with in college. With so much versatility and excellent footwork combined now with the strength of a lineman, Melton is a rare breed and the Bears are practically giving up the possibility of signing him long-term.
They had plenty of time to extend Melton, but management like they have many times in the past, has proven to be cheap. Phil Emery has made some questionable moves in the past year or so, and this is yet another one to add onto the list.
If Melton is let go in free agency next summer, Emery will be questioned more than ever before in his short stint with Chicago.